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PREIT CEO Explains Valentine's Day Stock Halt: 'We Hit The Wrong Button'


PREIT halted its stock for about two hours on Valentine's Day due to what its CEO chalked up to a mistake.

At an earnings call on Thursday, Joe Coradino answered a question about the mysterious halting — which, when initiated deliberately, usually precedes a major company news announcement — with what amounted to a mea culpa.

"We made a mistake and hit the wrong button at the wrong time," Coradino said, according to a transcript of his earning's call. "[We] corrected it quickly and issued our [earnings] release prior to market close after deliberations with counsel on the New York Stock Exchange. And we think that’s — it was really a blip and it's behind us."

Fashion District Philadelphia, PREIT and Macerich's joint venture in Center City, is scheduled to open this year and the company expects the first returns to come in the fourth quarter, according to Coradino. The JV is searching for an additional partner to build a multifamily component on top of Fashion District, in keeping with Coradino's philosophy that each component adds value to the other and more in line with the neighboring East Market's mixed-use makeup.

For the shopping centers that make up the bulk of PREIT's portfolio, department stores became the biggest drain on revenue as bankruptcies and closures reached epidemic status.

As of January 2017, 11 department store spaces were vacant in the company's portfolio, and Coradino said on the call that five have been reopened with new types of users, four more have leases under contract and the remaining two are close to being leased.