San Francisco Retail Exodus Continues; Westfield Mall Stops Paying Mortgage

Westfield San Francisco mall (Ken Lund / Flickr / CC)
Ken Lund / Flickr / CC

The exodus of major retailers from downtown San Francisco continues, as Westfield has stopped making payments on its mortgage for the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall and plans to leave the premises.

As Breitbart News reported last month, the Nordstrom store in downtown San Francisco decided to leave the city due to a change in “the dynamics of the downtown,” a subtle reference to crime and decreased foot traffic.

Nordstrom was the anchor tenant of the Westfield mall, which has prompted the owners to leave the mall, too.

Fox News reports:

Shopping center giant Westfield is walking away from its San Francisco Centre mall, becoming the latest major company to leave the California city amid rampant crime problems.

Westfield confirmed to FOX Business Monday that the company and partner Brookfield Properties earlier this month stopped making payments on a $558 million loan securing the San Francisco Centre property.

The UK Daily Mail added further details:

San Francisco Centre generated $455 million in sales in 2019, before the pandemic.

Last year, sales were down about a third to $298 million.

Nordstrom occupied 312,000 square feet in the mall: when it closes, Westfield San Francisco will only be 55 percent leased.

Other Westfields are on average 93 percent leased.

Retail sales have struggled generally in the past few years, as pandemic restrictions forced stores to close and moved consumers to online shopping. But San Francisco’s retail decline was particularly steep, augmented by a massive population exodus as the tech industry embraced work-from-home, and employees abandoned their commutes into the city. San Francisco’s recovery was, by some measures, the slowest of any major U.S. city.

In addition, San Francisco has suffered from street crime, homelessness, and open-air drug abuse, and was hit with a wave of “mass looting” events in late 2021 that hurt retail just as the local economy was reopening.

Liberal pundits have tried to dismiss the idea that San Francisco’s soft-on-crime policies have led to the retail exodus, but shoplifting has led to losses and some employees of downtown retailers fear coming to work.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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