Visalia Mall owner may buy J.C. Penney

Brookfield Properties, Simon Property Group may buy department store out of bankruptcy to help anchor their malls throughout the country

VISALIA– The owner of the Visalia Mall may one day be the owner of J.C. Penney, not just the building, but the entire company.

Last Wednesday, the Associated Press reported Brookfield Property Partners, which owns the Visalia Mall and over 170 other malls across the country, and Simon Property Group, which owns 225 malls across the country with the closest in Pleasanton, Calif., are close to a deal to buy the department store chain out of bankruptcy and carry on its retail history.

The AP reported that J.C. Penney’s lawyer Josh Sussberg announced the deal during a Sept. 9 bankruptcy court hearing. The deal is reportedly worth $800 million and would include 650 stores, save 70,000 jobs and relieve a billion dollars worth of debt from J.C. Penney.

The 118-year-old department store is the largest retailer to declare bankruptcy during the pandemic. On May 15, Plano, Texas-based J.C. Penney filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in Texas in order to implement the company’s financial restructuring plan. On June 4, J.C. Penney Co. announced it will close 154 stores in 38 states as part of the first step of its store optimization strategy.

Only eight of those locations will be in California. Visalia, the only location in Tulare County, was not on the list and neither was Hanford. The nearest location to close will be in Delano.

The Visalia Mall and Brookfield Property Partners said they were unable to comment on the matter.

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