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Westfield Palm Desert undergoing foreclosure proceedings

Palm Desert City Manager Todd Hileman says the city is monitoring "foreclosure proceedings" currently underway at the Westfield Mall.

"We have brought a team on onboard to help us monitor the situation, the foreclosure proceedings that are occurring right now," said Hileman. "We are trying to reach out actively and understand exactly what the plan is, the next steps."

Hileman says the lender has called the note in, but it remains unknown what exactly will happen next.

We've reached out again to Westfield officials for more information. Early Friday morning, spokesperson Christina Mendez told us "Exterior branding was recently removed from Westfield Palm Desert as a part of its transition to a receiver. The center remains open and operating to serve the local community."

This comes after the signage displaying the mall as a property of Westfield had been removed recently.

In early August, News Channel 3 confirmed with a spokesperson for Westfield that the mall's lender was looking to transition management of the property to a third party and sell Westfield Palm Desert. At that time, the spokesperson told News Channel 3 that the mall will remain open during this transitional period.

The local marketing director, Franchesca Forrer, replied to News Channel 3 on Tuesday saying "We don't have anything to announce at this time, but will reach out to you once we do." 

The Palm Desert mall is owned by the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Group, a European-based real estate company that owns malls across the world, including 25 in the United States. The August announcement came just hours after the Wall Street Journal reported that Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield was looking to unload its mall assets as the company attempts to shrink its debt. Reuters reported in February that Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield was looking to cut its U.S. exposure to close to zero. “At the end of the day, the exposure to the U.S. will be minimal, if not zero,” said Jean-Marie Tritant, the company's chief executive, during a call with journalists at that time. The company sold off three U.S. malls last year.

Brandon Iriarte

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