WestShore Plaza files for bankruptcy; buyers probably won’t notice a difference

When the pandemic struck in 2020, it dealt another blow to the already struggling retail sector.

Tampa’s Westshore Plaza Mall has been closed for almost two months, but not as long as other shopping malls owned by the Washington Prime Group.

Now the Columbus, Ohio-based company is facing financial fallout.

“For a lot of properties, this was the last nail in the coffin,” said Ashley Kritzer of the Tampa Bay Business Journal. “COVID was sort of the killing blow for a lot of these online properties that couldn’t keep up with online shopping. “

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week so it could restructure and pay off $ 1 billion in debt.

Kritzer explains that buyers won’t see any difference.

“It’s a financial issue, it’s not an operational issue – there will be nothing different at Westshore Plaza,” she said.

While Chapter Seven bankruptcy would involve liquidating portfolios and selling everything, Chapter 11 is very different.

“If you are a buyer at WestShore Plaza, or even an employee, it probably won’t affect you at all and you won’t notice any difference,” she said.

However, something different has been in the works for years at the site – a mixed-use redevelopment project that would replace the Sears space and an extension to include condos, apartments, offices and a grocery store.

Kritzer says no timetable has been announced.

“I think the pandemic has put it on hold. And obviously there are financial challenges, and what we’ll probably see when they get ready to do that, we’ll see a new financial partner coming in and partnering with them. Washington Prime to make this project a reality, ”she said.

A spokesperson for the Washington Prime Group provided the following statement to FOX 13 News:

“There will be no impact on operations, including active rental and redevelopment, at WestShore Plaza. The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for many consumer-oriented businesses, including Washington Prime Group. The company has determined that the Chapter 11 route is the most effective next step in resolving the company’s outstanding debt as we emerge from the pandemic. Throughout the Company’s Chapter 11 process, we expect business as usual at WestShore, where our tenants, sponsors and employees will continue to operate as normal, with an emphasis on providing enjoyable experiences to our clients.”

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