Focused on Reinvention: Centennial Real Estate's Big Purchase Brings New Vision to Malls

Shopping Center Business, May 2016
Randall Shearin

Centennial’s New Focus

With an acquisition from Westfield, the company is the new kid on the block in the regional mall business. But the company has a history that is rich in retail, and in creating successful centers.

The regional mall has come back into focus for a new group of investors as many larger owners have begun to concentrate their capital and strengths on stronger assets in key markets. That’s causing larger players to sell centers that are further afield from their current investment targets. What is out of focus for larger owners has become a strong opportunity for a new set of owners in the industry — those seeing the upside in investing in regional malls in primary and secondary markets that are the main retail hubs of their areas.

In 2015, Westfield elected to sell several of its centers in a portfolio to refocus capital on its development pipeline. For industry insiders, the move wasn’t surprising, but the industry did a double take when Dallas-based Centennial Real Estate Company was the announced purchaser of five of the centers in December for $1.1 billion. No one doubted Centennial’s ability to execute — the company has sound financial backing from USAA Real Estate and Montgomery Street Partners. Rather, the surprise came from Centennial’s desire to jump into the super-regional mall business. Until that point, the company was known as an investor/operator of town centers and power centers, with a few regional malls under ownership. Buying five malls from Connecticut to California seemed a big stretch for the company. For Centennial’s founder and CEO, Steven Levin, it was the perfect opportunity to create the company he had always wanted to build.

SCB recently met with Levin and Centennial’s chief operating officer, Dan Sheridan, at the company’s Dallas headquarters for our cover story this year.

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