CBL secures financing to renovate mall portfolio

CBL announced it had closed on $1.18 billion in financing that will allow it to avoid debt maturities coming due soon and focus its resources on renovating its portfolio of 62-plus malls.

The senior secured facility includes a fully-funded $500 million term loan and a revolving line of credit with total borrowing capacity of $685 million. The new facility matures in 2023.

Securing new financing “has been a top priority for us,” according to CBL CEO Stephen Lebovitz, who said the liquidity would allow CBL to fund significant renovation of the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company’s malls.

“We’re working with virtually the entire portfolio at this point. We started 15 redevelopments in 2018 and it will be closer to 20 in ’19,” Lebovitz said. “We started last year with 42 Sears and we ended the year with 12. We also had 14 BonTons [that closed]. Between those two anchors, most of our properties are touched.”

Lebovitz said the new financing indicates that the lending and banking communities have faith in the future of CBL’s business.

CBL’ chief financial officer Farzana Khaleel commented that the deal leaves the company with no unsecured debt maturities until the end of 2023.

“This significant lengthening of our maturity schedule provides us with a clear runway to execute our business plan of redeveloping former department stores and transforming our properties into suburban town centers,” Khaleel said.