The biggest mall owner in the U.S. is suing one of its most important in-line tenants.
Simon Property Group is suing Gap Inc. for its alleged failure to pay more than $65.9 million in rent and other charges due during the COVID-19 crisis. Gap operates 412 stores under its different banners in Simon malls, making it the mall operator’s biggest in-line tenant in terms of rent, according to CNBC.
The suit, filed in Delaware, reflects the growing tension between landlords and retailers, some of whom have acknowledged they stopped paying rent after they had to close stores during the pandemic. In April, Gap said in a Securities and Exchange filing that it had stopped paying rent starting in April and was in discussions to renegotiate or, in some cases, even terminate leases and close stores entirely.
Simon is asking the court to order Gap to pay up to $66 million, in addition to future rent payments.
“The bottom line is that we do have a contract, and we do expect to get paid,” David Simon, CEO, Simon, said on the company’s May earnings call.