Electra America Buys Foreclosed Miami-Dade Mall for $100M

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This joint venture shopped until they dropped $100 million on a beleaguered mall.

Private equity firm Electra America and real estate investment company BH Group closed on the acquisition of Southland Mall, a shopping center in the Cutler Bay section of Miami-Dade County 20 miles south of Downtown Miami, for $100.3 million. 

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The mall is on tricky footing after over a year and a half in foreclosure and a fruitless attempt to auction it to a new buyer, but the two firms think they can turn it around. They plan to add a residential component to go along with what will remain of the mall, which they intend to modernize and reposition.

“Cutler Bay’s proximity to high-paying employment centers and top-rated schools, along with minimal developable land in the area, made this an attractive investment opportunity,” Joe Lubeck, managing partner of Electra America, said in a statement. “It is nearly impossible to find a property of this quality and size throughout South Florida.”

Avison Young’s Michael Fay, John Crotty, David Duckworth and Brian de la Fé brokered the deal on behalf of the buyers.

Special servicer KeyBank has controlled the property since February 2021, according to county records. The lender took control of the mall from private equity firm Investcorp after the firm defaulted on its $65 million commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loan. At a foreclosure auction, Wells Fargo, representing the CMBS trust, bid $2,600 for the property and no one bid any higher than that, according to the Real Deal. Apparently, there was no interest in an 808,776-square-foot regional mall situated on 80 acres of suburban land.

In January of this year, it appeared that there was at least one taker for the property. Rafael Casals, the Cutler Bay town manager, told the South Florida Business Journal that the land, including Macy’s, was under contract with an undisclosed buyer. Macy’s, which owns the parcel on which it sits, was expected to continue leasing the property from the buyer. It was not immediately clear if the January buyer was the Electra America JV. 

The mall is about 80 percent occupied, and tenants include fashion retailers JCPenney, TJ Maxx and Old Navy, as well as L.A. Fitness and Regal Cinemas outposts, Electra America and BH Group said.

KeyBank did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Commercial Observer.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.