Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Westfield hits pause on sale of Montgomery Mall in Bethesda

It's been more than two years since Westfield principal owner Unibail made public its intention to sell off its American mall properties, including Montgomery Mall and Wheaton Plaza here in Montgomery County, to focus on its investments in Europe. Over that time, Unibail has sold nine of its lowest-performing malls in the United States. But there's been no word or even rumor of a pending sale of Montgomery Mall. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Montgomery Mall is one of several Westfield properties that are performing well enough that sale plans have been put on hold.

The Journal reports that sales and occupancy have bounced back to pre-COVID-19 levels or better at a number of Westfield malls. Among them are Montgomery Mall, Westfield Topanga Mall, Westfield Valley Fair Mall, Westfield Century City Mall, and Westfield Garden State Plaza. Interestingly, those are all in California except for Montgomery and Garden State. Wheaton Plaza is not on the Journal list, it should be noted.

According to the Journal, Unibail now intends to move forward with its plan to construct a new, outdoor-oriented addition to Montgomery Mall that includes residential units. Unibail Chief Executive Jean-Marie Tritant told investors on a recent conference call that the company has been pleasantly surprised by the recent upturn in its fortunes, and now has flexibility to sell off its U.S. portfolio at a pace of its choosing. This will likely mean obtaining higher cash value in return, as the company was unlikely to get the best price while buyers had the impression that a fire sale liquidation was underway.

Montgomery Mall's high financial performance is not necessarily surprising. After Westfield invested $100 million in additions and renovations to the property a decade ago, Montgomery Mall recorded the highest sales in its 55-year history.


  1. Induced demand, I guess, since all the other malls got murked.

  2. I’m glad to see that change- was not looking forward to the destruction/rubble/traffic increase at the property and nearby intersections.

    1. Thanks for the humor! You're joking right?