Photo by Mr. T in DC.
The Georgetown Mall is headed to auction next month, according to an article in the Post today (which marks Jonathan O’Connell’s arrival at the Post, bringing with him the real estate chops he honed at the Washington Business Journal).
As a quick background: Herb Miller’s Western Development and Anthony Lanier’s East Banc have been fighting over the future of the mall for years. Lanier claims that Miller broke an agreement they formed to buy the mall together when Miller bought the mall himself in 2006. Lanier sued and Miller’s plans to bring Bloomingdale’s collapsed. Western countersued for malicious legal filing. Eventually Western defaulted on a loan held by the now bankrupt Capmark Financial Group. As a result, the property will be auctioned off next month.
Each party has wildly different visions for the space. Miller wanted to reshape the mall around one large anchor tenant like Bloomingdale’s. Lanier, on the other hand, envisions a European-style outdoor alleyway market.
Any vision has got to be better than the ghost town that exists now. As the article reports, the mall has gone from a 10 percent vacancy to a 56 percent vacancy just since last January.
GM’s a big fan of the work East Banc has done and agrees with Lanier’s overall philosophy, so he’s hoping they pull it out, but what do you think?