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Macerich Gets Forbearance On $600M Queens Center Mall CMBS Loan

Queens Center in Elmhurst

Queens Center owner Macerich has been granted forbearance for its $600M mortgage on a 400K SF mall in Queens. 

The national mall owner received a three-month deferral from lenders Wells Fargo, JPMorgan and Bank of America on a CMBS loan backed by a single asset: the Queens Center mall on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, according to CMBS debt tracker Trepp.

Macerich took out the 12-year fixed-rate loan with interest at 3.48% in 2012, according to a release at the time. The loan replaced an existing $317M mortgage that had an interest rate of 7.3%.

The mall is located in what was commonly referred to as the "epicenter of the epicenter" of the pandemic throughout April. The neighborhood hospital, just a few blocks away, was one of the hardest hit in the early day's of the escalating crisis in New York.

The forbearance agreement comes as Macerich only collected 26% of retail rents in May, The Real Deal reports. The real estate investment trust also stalled construction on a multifamily project it was building in Virginia, it announced on an earnings call this year. 

The company took out a $550M loan in March to increase cash flow in response to the fallout from the virus.

The mall is anchored by JCPenney, which filed for bankruptcy Friday afternoon. It also includes fast-fashion retailer Forever 21, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September, and Macy’s, which has been recently looking to bolster its cash flow as its stock price plummets.

Macerich owns malls around the country, including The Shops at Atlas Park in Queens, Kings Plaza in Brooklyn and Green Acres Mall on Long Island. 

Retail has been the asset class hit hardest in the pandemic. Nearly 100,000 stores are expected to close across the country amid an accelerated shift to e-commerce. But leaders in the retail industry are holding out hope that the industry will rebound, in part by transforming spaces in malls into experiential retail and mixed-use districts with offices and apartments.