Pacific Retail Capital Partners announced that they, along with an investment partner, have closed on a nine-figure deal to purchase the Esplanade in Kenner, along with two other malls. The Simon Property Group, who previously owned the malls, will receive $200 million for the properties.
Pacific Retail, which is based in California, has been managing the Esplanade prior to closing on the deal. The mall has failed to attract business, competing with the Riverwalk for tourist traffic and the Oakwood and Elmwood Shopping Centers for local shoppers. The Simon Group invested heavily in bringing large, popular stores, including Target and Macy’s, to the space, but smaller operations have been less and less interested in operating out of the Esplanade.
Steve Plenge, managing principal for Pacific Retail, hinted at the mall’s future in a statement, saying the group “may explore some development to bring new, complementary uses such as residences,” and express optimism for the mall’s future, noting that it is “a substantial piece of real estate in a thriving community.” “Substantial” is right-the mall takes up 80 acres, and if properly developed could be a tremendous asset.
Kenner Mayor Michael Sigur has also stated that the area will be developed for residential use. Expect a high-end apartment complex called “The Gateway” to begin construction next to the Esplanade soon; Pacific Retail seems more amenable to the idea than Simon Property Group, who blocked construction when the complex was proposed in 2015.