Eastland Mall Owner Plans To File For Bankruptcy | WGLT

Eastland Mall Owner Plans To File For Bankruptcy

Aug 20, 2020

The owner of Eastland Mall, which last month signaled it was in trouble as tenants struggled to pay rent during the pandemic, plans to file for bankruptcy as part of a debt restructuring.

The Bloomington mall will remain open. CBL Properties says customers, tenants and partners can expect business as usual at all its owned and managed properties.

“Once the process is complete, we will emerge as a stronger and more stable company, with an enhanced ability to execute on our key strategies of diversifying our sources of revenue and transforming our properties from traditional enclosed malls to suburban town centers,” said CBL CEO Stephen D. Lebovitz.

Eastland Mall in Bloomington has struggled for years, even before the pandemic, as the property aged and consumers shifted to online shopping. When CBL lobbied for its local property taxes to be lowered last year, it said the mall was nearly 60% vacant. (That tax dispute is still underway.)

Like many businesses, Eastland Mall temporarily closed because of the pandemic. It reopened June 1.

Last month, CBL said it had “substantial doubt” about its future as it was unable to collect rent from most of its retail tenants that were struggling because of the pandemic.

If implemented, CBL’s restructuring would eliminate around $900 million in debt, plus at least $600 million in other obligations, the company said Wednesday.

CBL, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., operates more than 100 properties across 26 states.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.