CenterMark Properties

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CenterMark, formerly known as May Centers, was a mall development company owned by a consortium of Westfield Holdings Ltd., General Growth Properties, and Whitehall Street Real Estate L.P. III. And it was formerly owned by The May Department Stores Company until 1992, and Prudential Insurance until 1993.

FormerlyMay Centers, Inc (1947-1992)
IndustryMall Development
Founded1947; 74 years ago (1947)
Defunct1996; 25 years ago (1996)
FateAcquired by Westfield Group
SuccessorWestfield Group
ProductsShopping Malls
ParentThe May Department Stores Company (1947-1992)

Prudential Insurance (1992-1993)

General Growth Properties / Westfield Group (1993-1996)


The company previously developed malls under the name May Centers, Inc., which was then a subsidiary of the May Department Stores Company. The first shopping center that May Department Stores developed was an open-air shopping center that first opened in 1947 that later became the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles.[1] This shopping center grew around the second branch store of the May Company California division that opened on this site in 1947.[2]

A few years later, the May Department Stores built and opened in 1955 the Northland Shopping Center in Jennings, Missouri, to house one of their first suburban branch stores for their Famous-Barr department store division.[3]

In 1958, May Department Stores formed a subsidiary to handle their shopping center development which they called May Shopping Centers, Inc.[4]

During the mid-1980s, the May Department Stores noticed that their company's stock was vastly undervalued and that the company was at risk of becoming a hostile takeover target,[5][6] May Department Stores needed to re-purchase some of its company's stock to increase the share price. To accomplish this, they needed to obtain cash quickly, which they did by making a deal with Prudential Insurance in which the insurance company gave May $550 million in exchange for 50% ownership of May Centers in 1988.[7][8] In 1992, Prudential purchased the rest of May Centers and renamed the company CenterMark.[8][9]

The following year Prudential sold CenterMark to a consortium headed by Des Moines-based General Growth Properties and also included Australia-based Westfield Holdings Ltd. and Whitehall Street Real Estate L.P. III, an investment partnership operated by Goldman, Sachs & Co. At the time of the sale, CenterMark had owned or had interest in 19 malls or shopping centers in six states.[10][11] In 1996, General Growth sold its share to Westfield, which enabled Westfield to add these properties to its existing collection of properties and rebrand all of their new acquisitions to the Westfield brand.[12]

Under May Department Stores ownership, the company obtained new retail projects only by creating them on previously undeveloped land. Under successive owners, the company did not develop any new properties nor purchase any new properties from other owners.

Fate of some of the former May Centers/CenterMark properties[edit]

The majority of the properties that were initially developed by May had become very successful[according to whom?] and had become a part of Westfield and remain so as of January 2016. However, not all of the original May properties were sold to Westfield and a few properties that Westfield purchased were later sold.

Laurel Plaza is a special case. At the time of the sale of May Centers, Laurel Plaza also housed the headquarters for May Company California in addition to a regional store, so May Department Stores retained this property. May was trying to enlarge this mall in 1988.[13] Because of damage incurred during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, May and its successor Macy's were unable to dispose of the property until 2014.[14]

In 1988, May Centers almost sold La Jolla Village Square to T&S Development,[15] but the deal fell apart at the last minute. Four years later, May Centers was finally able to sell La Jolla Village Square to Gordon/Beck Ventures in 1992 after a number of years of trying to locate a buyer for this particular property.[16][17]

In July 1992, May Centers as the newly renamed CenterMark, sold the ailing Northland Shopping Center in Missouri to San Antonio-based Spigel Properties for an undisclosed amount.[18]

Westfield sold most of its St. Louis-area malls to Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates Properties. St. Clair Square was sold in 1996.[19] Mid-Rivers Mall, South County Center, and West County Center were sold in 2007.[20]

In 2006, Westfield sold four former May Center malls to Centro Watt, an American company by that time owned by another Australian-based company Centro Properties Group.[21] These properties include Eagle Rock Plaza, Enfield Square, West Park Mall, and Westland Towne Centre. Economically, these locations were not performing as well as they should.[22] In 2012, Madison Marquette Retail Services was hired to manage these properties.[23]

In November 2015, Westfield sold Westfield Carlsbad, formerly Plaza Camino Real, to Rouse Properties.[24]

On December 18, 2015, Vancouver Mall along with some other U.S. Westfield properties were sold to Centennial Real Estate Company, and "Westfield" was removed from the mall's name.[25] Any other references to Westfield online or at the property were removed the same day. Mall management was retained.

List of projects[edit]

Some of the malls that May Centers built included:


  1. ^ Folkart, Burt A. (April 23, 1992). "David May II; Scion Helped Family Store Chain Grow". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ "New May Co. Crenshaw Store Will Open Today". Los Angeles Times. October 10, 1947. p. A1 – via The May Co. at 12:30 p.m. today will open its new Crenshaw store, Crenshaw Blvd and Santa Barbara Ave., in a three-story building of contemporary design with the emphasis on architectural simplicity. The building, 324 by 207 feet, provides almost six acres of floor space, for sales and service, May Co. officials pointed out last night as final preparations were made for today's opening. Alternate Link(subscription required) via ProQuest (subscription required).
  3. ^ "Famous-Barr shows its new Northland". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 18, 1955. pp. 3A. Retrieved January 9, 2019 – via Executives of St. Louis department stores and public officials toured the eight acres of Famous-Barr Co.'s new Northland branch store last night in a preview showing of the modern structure at Lucas-Hunt road and West Florissant avenue, Jennings. The store, its three upper levels faced with red brick, is the center of a $12,000,000 shopping center, which will serve the rapidly-growing population of north St. Louis county. Shelves and display cases on all floors, including the basement of the store, were filled with merchandise in readiness for the store's opening at noon tomorrow.
  4. ^ "May Shopping Centers". Los Angeles Times. December 18, 1958. p. 88 – via May Shopping Centers was established last month as a wholly owned real estate subsidiary of the May Department Stores Co.
  5. ^ Barmash, Isadore (July 20, 1984). "May Stores As A Target". New York Times.
  6. ^ "May Stores Stock Purchased The May Department Stores Company, which has been a rumored takeover target, said the Crown Books Corporation and certain affiliates had purchased fewer than 1% of May's common shares. James Abrams, vice president for corporate communications, said We don't know of any interest by Crown to purchase more of May's shares.". New York Times. February 2, 1985.
  7. ^ Keppel, Bruce (August 18, 1988). "$550-Million Deal to Help May Stores Fend Off Takeovers". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ a b Apodaca, Patrice (August 4, 1992). "Making Over Topanga Plaza : Retail: The successful Woodland Hills center undergoes a $45-million renovation now rather than suffer a possible dip in sales". Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ "May Centers now called CenterMark". Southeast Missourian. May 3, 1992. p. 1D – via Google News.
  10. ^ Mills, Joshua (November 4, 1993). "Prudential Will Sell Centermark". New York Times.
  11. ^ "Prudential Selling Its Interest in 19 Malls, 9 in Southland". Los Angeles Times. November 4, 1993.
  12. ^ Ziemba, Stanley (June 29, 1996). "General Growth Sells Stake". Chicago Tribune.
  13. ^ a b Pyle, Amy (April 29, 1988). "N. Hollywood Partnership Buying Land for Huge Mall". Los Angeles Times.
  14. ^ a b Vincent, Roger (January 12, 2014). "Laurel Plaza shopping center in North Hollywood is sold". Los Angeles Times.
  15. ^ Kraul, Chris (March 30, 1988). "La Jolla Village Square Being Sold; Expansion Planned". Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ Kraul, Chris (June 30, 1992). "Developer Plans Major Renovation of La Jolla Village Mall : Shopping: $50-million project will shift the center's emphasis toward discount retailing". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ Kraul, Chris (July 21, 1992). "AMC Planning 12-Plex Theater at La Jolla Mall". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ "Texas Discounter Buys Northland". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. July 9, 1992. p. 1B – via A retail redeveloper from Texas has bought Northland Shopping Center in Jennings with plans to convert the property into a discount center. The buyer, Spigel Properties of San Antonio, closed the deal late Wednesday with CenterMark Properties of St. Louis. Terms were not disclosed... Separately, Spigel has an option to buy the Famous-Barr store at Northland from its owner, May Department Stores Co. of St. Louis. Spigel Properties President Stanley Spigel said he will exercise that option. But Jim Abrams, a spokesman for May Co., added Wednesday that the Famous at Northland will remain open until October 1993, when a new Famous is set to open at Jamestown Mall in far north St. Louis County.
  19. ^ "Chattanooga developer buying St. Clair Square". St. Louis Business Journal. November 3, 1996.
  20. ^ "CBL closes on $1B purchase of four area malls". St. Louis Business Journal. October 17, 2007.
  21. ^ Heschmeyer, Mark (May 11, 2006). "Australian Firm To Buy a Half Billion in Westfield Malls: Centro Watt Enters Mall Business; US Platform Positioned To Continue Growth". CoStar Group. Archived from the original on 2016-02-07.
  22. ^ "$240Mln Mall-Portfolio Loan Moved to Special Servicing". Commercial Real Estate Direct. May 27, 2014.
  23. ^ Miller, Melissa (April 30, 2012). "Progress continues with Isle of Capri casino construction". Southeast Missourian.
  24. ^ Showley, Roger (November 4, 2015). "Westfield selling Carlsbad mall". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  25. ^ Oliver, Gordon (December 18, 2015). "Vancouver Mall gets a new owner, old name: In $1.1 billion deal, shopping center is again Vancouver Mall". The Columbian. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  26. ^ "La Jolla Mall Completed". Los Angeles Times. November 4, 1979. p. H27. The $10-million, 212,000-square-foot La Jolla Village Mall has been completed. May Co. has opened a two-story, 173,000-square-foot department store... designed by Charles Kober and Associates. Alternate Link(subscription required) via ProQuest.
  27. ^ "Laurel Plaza Shop Center Opens Today". Los Angeles Times. March 7, 1968. p. sf6. Laurel Plaza, May Co.'s shopping center, is scheduled for opening today at Laurel Canyon and Oxnard St. The 600,000 square foot shopping center is completely enclosed and air conditioned. Besides the May Co. store, it has 30 specialty and high fashion shops, an ice skating rink, restaurants, snack facilities and a central mall. Alternate Link(subscription required) via ProQuest.