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Crystal Mall owner to transfer its title interest 'back to lender'

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Waterford — Simon Property Group “will transition its title interest in” Crystal Mall “back to the lender,” according to a bond agency report released Nov. 12, 2020.

The final payment for the $84.4 million mortgage loan for Crystal Mall is due in June 2022, the report states. With the current financial situation, the company does not expect to be able to refinance it. The report did not identify the lender, and the fate of the property is not clear.

MarketWatch, a financial news website, reported news from the report Saturday and highlighted the challenges facing the retail sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MarketWatch also reported that Simon Property Group "indicated it would engage in a "friendly foreclosure" of the Mall at Tuttle Crossing in Dublin, Ohio, and the Southridge Mall in Greendale, Wis.," and "no longer would inject capital into the Montgomery Mall in North Wales, Pa." Overall, the four shopping centers have "$410.9 million of mortgage debt," according to MarketWatch.

Simon Property Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

“During these challenging times, it comes as no surprise that property owners are searching for ideas on how to best utilize their assets,” Waterford First Selectman Rob Brule said. “That being said, Waterford will continue to be a great town to do business in and (looks) forward to working with all parties involved.”

Tony Sheridan, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, said he and about a half-dozen community leaders he called on Saturday were not aware of Simon Property Group’s plans, but some people did not find the news surprising, as Amazon and online purchasing continue to hurt the retail business.

He encouraged people to shop local and do everything they can to help out retailers and suppliers: “This is going to be a very difficult season, and we really have to do everything we possibly can to help them out,” he said.

Sheridan noted that the Crystal Mall is a valuable property with a solid structure and a great location with highway access.

Crystal Mall is among Waterford’s top taxpayers.

k.drelich@theday.com

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