According to FOX Business, Westfield and its partner Brookfield Properties stopped making payments earlier this month on a $558 million loan securing the San Francisco Centre.
Westfield said in a statement, "For more than 20 years, Westfield has proudly and successfully operated San Francisco Centre, investing significantly over that time in the vitality of the property."
"Given the challenging operating conditions in downtown San Francisco, which have led to declines in sales, occupancy, and foot traffic, we have made the difficult decision to begin the process to transfer management of the shopping center to our lender to allow them to appoint a receiver to operate the property going forward."
Westfield appears to have stopped making the payments following the news that Nordstrom was shutting down both its downtown San Francisco locations, including one that is in the San Francisco Centre property.
The retail giant told Fox Business that San Francisco Centre would only be 55 percent leased when the clothing giant exits. According to the company, their US malls are on average 93 percent leased.
Westfield’s departure comes less than a week after Park Hotels & Resorts announced it had stopped making its mortgage payments and turned over two hotels to the bank, the Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55, stating at the time that the city was not safe and expressed skepticism that the Gold City could recover.
The move by the trust that held the hotels comes amid a massive exodus of retailers that have closed up shop in the city due to rampant crime, the city’s drug crises, homelessness and a lack of foot traffic. Old Navy, Whole Foods, and T-Mobile, among others, have already closed their San Francisco locations or are in the process of doing so. Last month, one shop owner claimed the city is worse than his home country of Afghanistan.
In an interview Monday night, California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom told Fox News host Sean Hannity that his efforts to solve the state's massive homeless crisis have fallen flat, saying, "We own this, Sean. I'm not here defending this."
The former San Francisco mayor also said during the interview "I don't like the bashing of my old city, San Francisco" adding, "Whole Foods did shut down one business, but it was a bad location to begin with, and they're opening a new one." he did not elaborate on where the new location would be.
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