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HARBORPLACE: B'MORE'S FIFTH AVE?

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HARBORPLACE: B'MORE'S FIFTH AVE?
Wife's birthday? No need to travel to NYC for that Coach bag (we won't tell her you bought it from a guy on the corner anyway). Retail pros in Baltimore say Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp, which just purchased Harborplace from GGP this week, could transform the Inner Harbor Mall into a high-end retail district.
Jeff Bach
CBRE Baltimore retail head Jeff Bach says B'more has a good nucleus of retail (Harbor East provides trendy retailers like J.Crew and Anthropologie, and Power Plant and Power Plant Live offer entertainment) but needs high-end fashion. And Ashkenazy, which reinvented Boston's Faneuil Hall, is the kind of owner that can improve on what GGP has already done at the Inner Harbor. Jeff says any company that bought the mall would likely reinvest in it(perhaps re-tenant it and re-skin it) because Downtown is "begging for it." David Cordish, chair of nearby Power Plant and Power Plant Live owner Cordish Cos, tells us GGP is "a world-class suburban regional mall developer, [but] Harborplace needs to be an urban meeting place. It needs to be reflective of what is uniquely Baltimore."

Light Street Pavilion, Harborplace, on Oct. 23, 2012
Our friend Gianna Doukas snapped the Light Street Pavilion last night. Harborplace is not the kind of asset someone buys fully leased, aiming for a stable revenue stream, says KLNB Retail's Tom Maddux. "They know there's an upside." In Q2, GGP refinanced a 7.89% loan on Harborplace and The Gallery ($61M balance expiring in June 2014) with a 5.24% loan for $82M, expiring in May 2022. GGP is retaining ownership of The Gallery, across Pratt Street. Ashkenazy also bought Village at Cross Keys from GGP this summer but has yet to announce redevelopment plans.