by Harriet Alexander at dailymail.co.uk
San Francisco’s struggling downtown has been dealt another blow as Westfield stops making mortgage payments on its massive mall due to crime and tanking sales.
The firm stopped making payments on a $558million loan and is handing it back to their lender which will appoint a receiver. It will remain open for now.
Last month, Westfield blamed ‘unsafe conditions’ and ‘lack of enforcement against rampant criminal activity’ in part for Nordstrom’s departure from the mall.
Westfield said the ‘unprecedented’ poor performance in San Francisco was a sharp contrast to the rest of its properties.
San Francisco Centre generated $455 million in sales in 2019, before the pandemic.
Last year, sales were down about a third to $298 million.
Nordstrom occupied 312,000 square feet in the mall: when it closes, Westfield San Francisco will only be 55 percent leased.
Other Westfields are on average 93 percent leased.
The mall is a smart and upmarket building, whose other retailers include Bloomingdales, Aesop, Rolex and Sephora.
Westfield’s struggles will pile fresh pressure on city leaders, after multiple retailers and hotels shuttered in downtown San Francisco as it continues to battle soaring crime, open drug use and homelessness.
The famously-progressive city has been condemned for its ‘harm reduction’ policies, which critics say have effectively legalized drug taking. Meanwhile, its police department remains short-staffed after woke lawmakers called for defunding in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
‘For more than 20 years, Westfield has proudly and successfully operated San Francisco Centre, investing significantly over that time in the vitality of the property,’ the company said.