Mall ownership: It’s an alphabet soupBy Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | January 03,2013Who now owns the Diamond Run Mall?
It turns out that the seemingly straightforward question may not have an answer.
Gemini Real Estate Advisors is surrendering the 400,000-square-foot mall to its mortgage-holder, identified in documents filed at the Rutland Town clerk’s office as “GCCFC 2007-GG11 Rutland Retail LLC.” The Vermont secretary of state’s corporations database links that cumbersomely named entity with LNR Partners, which bills itself as “the world’s largest commercial mortgage special servicer.”
However, a New York City-based spokesman for LNR said the company does not own the mall, but will manage it on behalf of its owner, something called a CMBS trust. CMBS stands for “commercial mortgage-backed security.”
“Basically what happens is, the bank that makes a loan — that loan is securitized with other loans and then sold as bonds,” LNR spokesman Bud Perrone explained. “LNR is a special servicer. Since there is no one bank, they act on behalf of the trust.”
Perrone said he did not think there was a way to see who owns the trust.
“It could be any number of people,” he said. “It’s pension funds, hedge funds or institutional investors who buy these things. It’s not like you or me buying a share of Coca-Cola.”
So, what are the plans for the property? On that question, Perrone said he could not comment except to say the plans did not include closing the mall and that Zamias Services, which built the mall in 1995 and sold it to Gemini, would continue as the property manager.
“It’s still business as usual for the companies that do business there as well as the people who shop there,” he said.
Calls to Gemini went unreturned Tuesday and Wednesday, but a November report by CoStar Group, a “real estate information company,” described the mortgage on the mall as more than 90 days delinquent with more than $30 million outstanding.
Town Clerk Marie Hyjek said that there were more than 500 pages of documents on the transfer — Gemini had more than 30 investors with stakes in the mall — and that she expected it to be a couple of days before they were all properly recorded.
When Gemini bought the mall in 2007, a news story described it as having 52 stores. Thirty were operating Wednesday afternoon — including all the anchor stores, a kiosk selling phone accessories and the bouncy-house playground in the food court.
A spokesman for Gemini at the time of the purchase expressed an interest in bringing in more restaurants and referred to the soon-to-open Sports Legends. The spot occupied by Legends was vacant Wednesday, and the only vendor operating in the food court was Orientaste.
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