GGP CEO: Anchors not giving up on The SoNo Collection

Work proceeds last week on The SoNo Collection in South Norwalk.

NORWALK, Conn. – Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom are intent upon maintaining their proposed footprints in The SoNo Collection, GGP CEO Sandeep Mathrani said Tuesday.

Mathrani’s comments were part of GGP’s third quarter earnings report-inspired question and answer conference call.

Daniel Santos of Sandler O’Neill & Partners asked if Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom might consider backing out of The SoNo Collection, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

Mathrani said that made him smile.

“As much as we would like to see a department store downsize, so we can add in other users, both have dug their heels in to keep the size of store that they have currently,” Mathrani is quoted as saying. “…There is obviously a hole in the market – there are very few holes in the market in our business, and they both feel they need to have the better representation of their stores in this market.”

Work proceeds last week on The SoNo Collection’s southern parcel.

He was later asked what amenities The SoNo Collection might offer. The transcript quotes him as saying:

“It’s going to have all the things that you think a new set of lifestyle sort of project will have. It will have more food, it will have more entertainment, it will have lesser power, it will be more – I use the word multi-used from a tenant mix perspective. So it will have the things that people want to go, again hangout in, fitness, yoga, SoulCycle – it’s not SoulCycle, but enough things like SoulCycle because that exists at the shopping center. So it will be a place where people want to go, congregate and hangout.
“Look, every study shows you that every millennial actually prefers to go into a shopping center, they go hang out. And so, you got to create an environment for them to come and ponder and sit in the community and you know, why does Apple open these phenomenal stores?  Because they want to come and be part of in center of a community. And so, we are creating something where you do want to come and be part of the community.
“If anyone’s been in Fairfield County, today there is really no place for anyone in Fairfield County to go and congregate. We’re trying to create something that’s indoor-outdoor with the mix of uses that will allow someone to come and congregate.  Which is why we are 65% pre-leased today.”

Mathrani said at the August groundbreaking for The SoNo Collection that the project was 65 percent pre-leased.

A recent Wall Street Journal story about GGP’s Norwalk mall drew some local interest, with critics focused on a Mathrani quote: “We’re not building any more (malls). This could be it for a long period of time.”

This echoes a comment Mathrani said at the groundbreaking: “People should appreciate that you may not see another mall get built in America for the next decade.”

GGP exec Kevin Berry said in a Tuesday email, “Sandeep was referring to the mall industry in the US, in that the wave of building shopping malls that occurred in the 1960s thru right before the Great Recession is likely not going to continue.”

The state of The SoNo Collection, last week in South Norwalk.


Steve Mann November 1, 2017 at 8:11 am

How many Kool-Aid stands will there be in the new mall? It would encouraging to hear a commitment directly from Nordstrom’s and Bloomingdale’s.

No place to “hang out” in FF Co? Two other malls, these places call libraries, numerous fitness clubs, bars, Starbucks, public parks, beaches… Has the CEO been to Fairfield Co lately? His ramblings say one thing: “We have no idea who the tenants will be, but we’re building this damned thing anyway”

Rem November 1, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Nice find @Maribeth

As a millennial I agree with much of that report. Travel and having experiences top the list for myself and my wife. Shopping at a mall? Not so much (besides of which everyone knows that store malls have high rents to pay, so you can usually find the same or similar product online for less). And mall restaurants are rarely any good. Anyways… Good luck GGP…

Jeffrey Hall November 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm

It’s nice to hear that Bloomingdales and Nordstrom are still coming. But if that news were reliable, wouldn’t it be coming from representatives of Bloomingdales or Nordstrom, rather than the CEO of GGP? The whole thing sounds like a rejected scene from “The Music Man”.

Rick November 1, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Its simple math , GGP has been doing poorly yet maintains a payout each 1/4 ,stock is down and the kicker last week it was all good news Stews is opening in NJ. and this week the stock sank after positive news even from the last call.

How do they continue to pay out on each quarter making great news? Some in the market say they are borrowing money to pay out adding to its net profits.

While Brookfield increased their GGP investment by exercising their warrants. In turn, GGP received $462 million.

Today GGP is closed at 19.44 last time it was that low was 2014 about the same time as now.

It all simply means its a crap shoot with the company and for the city.

Its safe to say if anything happens to GGP it will probably be Brookfield come in and take over.

One important fact that has surfaced to no ones surprise in the industry NY won a land mark case allowing outlet malls to open anywhere. Ny outlet mall owners held an exclusive no outlet malls any within a 60 mile span the Clinton mall was just that 60 miles from the ny one. Now its open season ‘ Its not going to hurt Norwalk the mall sounds like its going to be Disney land on dust.

But with all the talk of German grocery stores that only carry a certain amount of products at a cost cutting bargain its likely if Norwalk gets one slop and shop an Stews may feel the bite on some items.

Would of been nice in all this meetings the city had facts on the industry and on GGP was in the open . Most malls are having serious issues with security most cities who host malls this size have had to add two dozen or so police officers alf of them detectives.

The mall many times when asked in meetings about a sub station came into play,the answer was we asked and no response so we are leaving a spot for them GGP would say. What a way to run a city wait and see no proactive stance on securing the mall once it opens and yes who is going to pay for this?

Guess thats where the Disney Dust comes in.

Jordan T November 3, 2017 at 6:11 pm

I am a millennial. I have not been to a mall in years. Good luck with this project. Pretty soon Norwalk will be known for its “ghost mall” where people can come take pics of homeless living inside it

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