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COMMENTARY

Discount Diva: These 5 retail properties are Buffalo's most delinquent

Samantha Christmann

And you were embarrassed about that car payment you missed.

Every month a real estate advisory firm called Trepp puts out lists of the largest delinquent commercial real estate loans in the Buffalo Niagara region. Those of you who have been keeping tabs on the so-called retail apocalypse will not be surprised to hear that all five of Trepp’s Buffalo Niagara listings this month are retail properties.

We all know malls are struggling. But it’s funny to think we drive past busy strip plazas whose owners also have left millions unpaid.

According to Trepp, these are the five largest seriously delinquent loans in the Buffalo Niagara region:

Boulevard Mall. The woes of the region’s oldest enclosed shopping center are well documented. After the mall failed to make a payment on its $92 million loan in 2017, its owner, Forest City, gave up control of the mall, avoiding the mess of foreclosure and having it legally seized.

Forest City handed the deed to Miami-based LNR Partners, the special servicer that was trying to collect on the payments and held the mortgage on behalf of Wall Street investors.

LNR now maintains the mall and is trying to sell it.

Here’s the problem: the biggest half of the loan is still $89.4 million delinquent, but the value has since been slashed to $29.9 million.

McKinley Mall. The Hamburg shopping mall fell delinquent on a $25.8 million loan payment over the summer, was put into receivership by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge and had its value cut by 75 percent.

After losing Bon-Ton and Ulta Beauty, the mall is now worth just $15 million, according to its major loan servicer Wells Fargo.

D&L Plaza. The Tops-anchored plaza at 5175 Broadway in Depew is home to a Big Lots store, a SuperCuts salon, a Dollar Tree and Sally Beauty Supply.

It is delinquent on a nearly $12 million loan.

The plaza was owned by Phillips Edison & Co., a Cincinnati-based, publicly traded real estate investment trust, but was collateral for part of a pool of mortgages that were packaged and sold to investors. Some of those loans failed and, in 2015, the properties were taken over by their special servicer in lieu of foreclosure.

McKinley Mall. That’s right, the McKinley Mall made the list twice, backing the second and fourth most delinquent loans in the Buffalo Niagara market.

The mall acts as collateral for two different loans. This one represents the piece of the loan worth $9.2 million.

University Plaza. The property at 3500 Main St. in Amherst is $7.3 million in arrears.

Anchored by another Tops Markets, it is also home to Dipson Theatres’ Amherst Theatre movie house, a Rainbow clothing retailer, a Dollar Tree and several other stores, including a Quest Diagnostics lab and a UPS store. Record Theatre leased a space in the plaza from 1985 until the company closed in 2017.

University Plaza was packaged in with D&L Plaza and the other Phillips Edison & Co. properties that were taken over in lieu of foreclosure in 2015.

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