Polaris owner gets out of chapter 11

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Washington Prime Group, the Columbus-based owner of Polaris Fashion Place and dozens of other malls, has emerged from bankruptcy with new management.

Lou Conforti stepped down as CEO of the company after five years in this position.

Mark Yale, chief financial officer and executive vice president of the company, and Josh Lindimore, chief financial officer of the company and also executive vice president, will serve as interim co-CEOs, according to a statement released by SVPGlobal, the new majority owner of Washington Prime. .

“SVPGlobal recognizes the value of our brand, the potential of our assets and, equally important, our people,” Conforti said in the statement.

“As WPG (Washington Prime Group) emerges from bankruptcy, the time has come for me to step down from my role as CEO and move on to a consulting role. It’s a new beginning for WPG and myself. I really enjoyed leading this group. organization and wish him the best of luck.

Washington Prime filed for bankruptcy in June, after struggling for more than a year with a pandemic that has crushed mall revenues and traffic. In its Louisiana bankruptcy filing, Washington Prime recorded $ 4.03 billion in assets and $ 3.47 billion in debt.

Washington Prime followed other mall owners in Chapter 11 during the pandemic, including CBL Properties and PREIT, which together own 130 malls.

At the time of its filing, Washington Prime said it had reached deals with 73% of its creditors, including its largest, SVPGlobal, an investment firm based in London and Greenwich, Connecticut, specializing in distressed debt.

Following the court’s approval of the bankruptcy plan in September, Washington Prime announced that it would no longer be a publicly traded company.

Washington Prime “emerged from bankruptcy as a stronger, more stable company with nearly $ 1 billion in debt reduced and significantly improved overall liquidity,” SVPGlobal said in its statement.

“As WPG rolls out of Chapter 11, we are very excited about what lies ahead,” said Victor Khosla, Founder and Chief Investment Officer of SVPGlobal.

“With a significantly stronger balance sheet and greater financial flexibility, WPG is well positioned for the future. We expect that WPG’s strong portfolio of assets will allow it to continue as a leader in retail, and we look forward to partnering with the experienced team at WPG. We thank Lou for leading WPG through a period of unprecedented change. ”

Washington Prime owns and operates approximately 100 shopping centers in the United States, including nine in Ohio: Polaris Fashion Place; Indian Mound Mall in Heath; the Fairfield Commons shopping center in Beavercreek; Dayton Mall; New Towne Mall in New Philadelphia; Lima Mall and Lima Center; Great Lakes Shopping Center in Mentor; and Southern Park Mall in Youngstown.

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@JimWeiker

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