Here's a price tag any bargain shopper could appreciate: The Esplanade Mall in Kenner just sold for $10, according to court records.
It wasn't immediately clear whether flagging customer traffic at the once-bustling mall is entirely to blame for the fire-sale price. The sale was part of a complicated transaction involving three different properties, which was announced earlier this week. And neither side in the deal would comment Thursday.
But records show the old owner, Simon Property Group of Indiana, was obviously a motivated seller.
In taking the Esplanade and two other malls off Simon's hands, the West Coast real estate firm Pacific Retail and its partners agreed to absorb about $281 million in debt.
The other properties — the Galleria in White Plains, New York, and Northpark Mall outside of Jackson, Mississippi — also sold for $10 each. Pacific Retail has said it estimates the three malls are worth a total of about $200 million.
According to court documents filed with the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court's Office, as of last week, the Simon subsidiaries previously in charge of the malls owed about $281 million in promissory notes held by Aareal Holding Realty since 2012.
The sale of the Esplanade Mall in Kenner has been finalized, according to an announcement Monday.
Pacific Retail's managing principal, Steven Plenge, is also a high-ranking officer with Aareal and other companies involved in the deal.
Plenge did not respond to messages seeking comment Thursday. Simon declined to discuss the deal.
But Pacific Retail has said it is optimistic about being able to revitalize business at the three shopping centers by investing in efforts to lure new shops, restaurants and customers. Industry analysts have said the group has done that at other sites.
Last week's transaction expanded Pacific Retail's mall management portfolio to a total of 11 shopping centers in eight states.
It was the third time the Esplanade has changed hands.
A group named Cadillac Fairview opened the mall in the early 1980s, and for years it was a worthy competitor to its main rival, Metairie's Lakeside Shopping Center. But extensive renovations at Lakeside have helped it pull well ahead.
In 2003, the Mills Corp. bought the Esplanade from Cadillac Fairview as part of a deal that also included the Galleria and the Northpark Mall.
Those three malls then came under Simon's ownership after that company merged with Mills in 2007.
The Esplanade, with help from tax breaks from the city of Kenner, has been able to land a Target store and a new 14-screen movie theater in the past few years, adding to well-known outlets like Dillard’s, Victoria’s Secret and Old Navy.
But empty walkways and vacant storefronts were a common sight, which frustrated Kenner officials who view the mall as one of the city's most important sources of sales tax revenue.