Two Mall Owners Offer to Save Bon-Ton with Buyout

Bon-Ton is on the verge of closing all its’ department stores after filing for bankruptcy. The cost to buyout? $128 Million.

bon-ton buyout

Namdar Realty Group and Washington Prime Group have come together to offer the $128 million cash bid to buy Bon-Ton Stores out of bankruptcy.

Bon-Ton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2018. The bidders are looking to purchase Bon-Ton through a court-supervised bankruptcy sale process. Following Bon-Ton’s actions to file bankruptcy, several entities have been interested in buying out Bon-Ton and liquidating the stores. The investor group and Bon-Ton are preparing to finalize their asset purchase agreement which needs to happen before the auction currently scheduled for April 16, 2018.

The courts also approved the $500,000 work fee paid by the investor group, in order to cover the due diligence cost.

No comment has yet been made by either Washington Prime or Namdar Realty.

The details of the buyout

Namdar Realty and Washington Prime would acquire nearly all of Bon-Ton’s assets. There is one exception, a 743,600 sq. ft. distribution center located at 115 Enterprise Parkway, West Jefferson, OH. AM Retail Group Inc. would buy this exception property separately.

Bon-Ton is currently Washington Prime’s tenant in 15 properties. The size of these properties totaling 1.48 million square feet. In addition, Bon-Ton is also a tenant of Namdar Realty in 13 properties.

There are 250 stores operated by Bon-Ton in 23 states across the United States.


According to Morgan Stanley Research analysts, Ronald Kamdem and Richard Hill, Washington Prime and Namdar Realty’s bid makes complete sense due to several reasons. If the investors were to lose their tenant, Bon-Ton, their malls’ cap rates would most likely widen if given the risk of co-tenancy and capex requirements to redevelop.



In addition, the investors could be positioning the move in order to place the Bon-Ton stores where they have big box vacancies in their malls.


“We can’t help but think this would be a competitive advantage for these two mall landlords relative to their peers,” said the two analysts. “First, they could choose to keep open stores at their properties while closing others at competing locations. Second, it could provide them an opportunity to buy malls from their competitors at more attractive valuations if there is a risk of losing a major tenant.”


The Retail Property Management Market is Changing

The retail market is changing, and commercial real estate managers are significantly adding to property value.

Retail Property Management - Commercial Real Estate

With the understanding of their tenants’ business, commercial real estate managers are driving immense value in retail assets. It has become obvious that retail properties which are successful, are made from successful retail tenants. However, there is more to it than simply finding a daily-needs anchor that promises internet resistance.

Perfect example…recently, a five-building automotive retail property traded hands in Chula Vista for a whopping 176% over the original investment. The property is located in a retail-zoned corridor. This type of location is rare for automotive properties today, which of course made it that much more of a desirable opportunity. Although the property was rare due to zoning, it was the property management team that was integral in driving value. Thus, turning the failing and mostly vacant asset into a profitable automotive center.

RESolutions Celebrates its 10th Year

February 24, 2018

10 years resolutions commercial real estate chicago

“We are proud to have served our clients by delivering superior results to enhance the performance of over 4,000,000 square feet of commercial real estate over the past ten years. Our focus on maximizing asset value has allowed us to build deep relationships with our portfolio of real estate owners, private equity funds, special servicers

and banks.”

S.L. van der Zanden, Managing Principal  |  Brian Goldman, Principal & COO


Thank you also for the generosity of your time, effort and professional assistance throughout the year with Centier Bank’s property management/liquidation assignments, periodic note sale needs and availability to answer all of our general inquiries. Your firm is second to none in people resources, capabilities and responsiveness. It has been my privilege to work with all of you and your extended team. I look forward to our continued, and long-term relationship.

Brian D. Miller, Vice President Group Manager Risk Management, Centier Bank

224 des plaines - commercial real estate chicago

224 Des Plaines

Chicago, IL

211 w wisconsin ave - commercial real estate chicago

211 W Wisconsin Ave

Milwaukee, WI

There are lots of receivers, and most are good at working the court

system and chasing tenants for rent, but RESolutions brings a true asset management perspective which is a big differentiator – that adds a

lot of value to the equation…

Gianluca Montalti, Senior Vice President, Torchlight Investors

glen town center - commercial real estate chicago

Glen Town Center

Glenview, IL

medical mutual headquarters - commercial real estate chicago

Medical Mutual Headquarters

Cleveland, OH

RESolutions is a very professional and experienced commercial property manager. They increased our occupancy to 100% with an aggressive tenant retention as well as leasing strategy.

Gerald Nudo, Principal, Marc Realty

enterprise corporate center - commercial real estate chicago

Enterprise Corporate Center

Andersen, IL

valparaiso walk sc - commercial real estate chicago

Valparaiso Walk SC

Valparaiso, IN


CMBS (Conduit) Loan Defeasance Drops Rapidly

February 15, 2018

A CMBS Loan, also known as Conduit Loan, is a type of commercial real estate loan secured by a first-position mortgage on a commercial property. These loans are packaged and sold by Conduit Lenders, commercial banks, investment banks, or syndicates of banks.

The legacy CMBS market has been shrinking rapidly, which has affected defeasance activity profoundly. Last year, only 449 CMBS loans ($6.4 billion) were defeased. Compare this to 2016, where 1,059 loans ($15.9 billion) were defeased.

Why did the number of defeasances drop?

Last year, market conditions were perfect for defeasance transactions. However, there simply was not very many loans to defease. When interest rates are low, and property values high, we see higher defeasance activity. This was what happened in 2016.

Between 2013 and 2016, a spike of defeasances occurred when approximately $70.6 billion of loans were replaced by government securities.

This increase in defeasance activity occurred simultaneously with the CMBS Wall of Maturities.

What fuels the defeasance fire? Maturing Debt.

Bottom line, there are fewer maturities, so there are fewer defeasances. This is best explained when looking at the financial crisis that happened almost a decade ago. After the fall, so to speak, not as many CMBS loans were issued.

The decline of maturities = The decline of defeasances.

What is the expectation?

Steadiness. This expectation isn’t a strong one when looking at the scarce amount of loans issued in the last 10 years, following the 2008 financial crisis. Let’s break the numbers down…

2008 – $12.1 billion of loans

2009 – $3.6 billion of loans

2010 – $11 billion of loans

The Big Variable

In short, expectations of major interest rate hikes. Rate increases motivate borrowers to “lock in” current rates, as well as defease existing loans. However, for this to happen, the increases would have to be dramatic. 1% is not enough to scare a borrower into completing these transactions. Instead, it would have to be a much higher number that would cause them to defease, even if they only had a few years left on the existing loan.

Prepay or Defease?

Securitized commercial mortgages are usually structured with prepayment restrictions. This is to make sure that the lenders receive the cash flows that were expected for the life of the loan. If a borrower decides to pay off their loan before it becomes available to prepay, they could face serious penalties. These payoff cases typically happen when there is a sale of the property or a dramatic drop in interest rates.

Alternatively, the borrower could replace their mortgage collateral with government securities that copy the mortgage’s cash flow. In short, the lesser amount of time left on the loan, the lower the cost to defease. As with the opposite, the longer amount of time remaining on the loan, the more it will cost to defease. This is why most wait until the last two years of the maturity of the loan to defease.

If you have questions on defeasement or the maturity of your loan, contact RESolutions to guide you to the most appropriate steps for your situation.

RESolutions News 12/2017

December 13, 2017 – RESolutions sells Peoria apartment portfolio and hires Patrick Schenk.

resolutions commercial real estate chicago - logo


RESolutions represents Asian buyer in purchase of Peoria multifamily assets.


Patrick Schenk has joined RESolutions.


Contact us to learn how you can easily monetize your real estate network by referring business to us.



Property Management,

Investment Sales & Leasing

  Send us an Email

Phone: (312) 257-3252


Address:  79 W Monroe, Suite 905, Chicago, IL  60603

SOLD: Peoria Apartments Purchased by Asian  Investor

(Peoria, IL) – RESolutions is pleased to announce its representation of an Asian buyer in the recent purchase of a 33 unit apartment portfolio located on Moss Avenue in Peoria, Illinois for $1.3 Million. While not exclusively leased to students, the properties’ location between the University of Illinois Medical School and Bradley University, results in a strong student occupancy.

Brian Goldman and Saar Schnitman identified the opportunity and represented the buyer in the purchase. In order to complete the transaction, we also negotiated a release of a potentially detrimental easement over the property by the owner of the land next door.


Patrick Schenk


Property Management & Leasing           

patrick schenk - resolutions real estate

RESolutions is pleased to announce that Patrick Schenk has joined the company in the Property Management & Leasing group. 

Patrick graduated from DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business this past spring after successfully completing his degree in Real Estate Finance. Patrick comes to us from The Walsh Group and will be initially working on property management and leasing.

Please note:  This is an opt-in newsletter and is only received by those who joined it or have had interactions with RESolutions EMR.  RESolutions EMR respects your privacy and will never share your email address or any other personal information with anyone.



RESolutions Brokers Sale of Cleveland’s Rose Building for $37.9 Million

Tuesday, September 27, 2017

Rose Building

Medical Mutual Headquarters, Cleveland, Ohio

(Chicago, IL) – Last week, as advisor to a special servicer, Torchlight Investors, on a defaulted CMBS loan, S.L. van der Zanden, Managing Principal of RESolutions, arranged the sale of the 381,000 square foot historic Rose Building to its current tenant, Medical Mutual of Ohio for $37.9 million. The sale is being viewed as a successful conclusion to a process that began over a year ago. That was when the lender, a group of bondholders represented by U.S. Bank, filed for foreclosure against Bentley Forbes, a California-based landlord, and a court-appointed receiver was installed.

The Rose Building, which was briefly the tallest building between New York City and Chicago, has been home to Medical Mutual since 1947 and they owned the 10-story building and its six-story annex from 1984 to 2000. Seventeen years ago, Medical Mutual sold the complex, along with other buildings, to Bentley Forbes to free up cash. Due to the near-term lease expiration of the building’s sole tenant, they were unable to refinance. Thus resulting in a maturity default.

S.L. van der Zanden’s Role

S.L. van der Zanden’s initial role was to negotiate a “blend and extend” of the absolute triple net lease with Medical Mutual. To extend the term with less than four years remaining to at least 11 years.

“My assignment was to put the property on a secure financial footing conducive for a buyer to obtain long-term financing and thereby facilitate a property sale at an attractive cap rate,” he says. “We were surprised that Medical Mutual’s response to our initial proposal was an offer to purchase with a net economic value of slightly less than thirty million dollars.”

Over the course of nearly a year, and despite many stops and starts, a deal was finally struck. In June of 2017, the deal closed at the final purchase price. The sale price was about $10 million less than what BentleyForbes paid in 2000. But it’s still a notably high number for an older downtown building. This is based on the prices that other, comparable properties have been fetching. Cuyahoga County estimates that the property is worth $16.2 million.

“We were excited to work on this assignment since we specialize in improving operations and leasing of large commercial properties. We have repeatedly demonstrated that we can add significant value while guiding distressed assets through the foreclosure process,” said S.L. van der Zanden, Managing Principal and CEO of RESolutions.

Built-Out Office Space For Lease

April 1, 2017 – Up to 4,500 sqft of space available now in Kenosha, WI and Gurnee, IL:

built-out office space for lease - kenosha wi


RESolutions News 2/2017

February 15, 2017 – RESolutions nabs five (5) new management assignments and promotes Saar Schnitman to Senior Director of Property Management & Leasing.

commercial real estate management - chicago



RE|SOLUTIONS announces new property management assignments in:

Evergreen Park

Melrose Park

Orland Park

Benton Harbor, MI



Saar Schnitman 

Real Estate Senior Director

Property Management & Leasing

Contact us to learn how you can easily monetize your real estate network by referring business to us.

RE|SOLUTIONS is now looking to hire an assistant for our Property Management division. 

Contact Brian Goldman for more info:


Property Management & Leasing


  Send us an Email

Phone: (312) 257-3252


79 W Monroe, Suite 905

Chicago IL 60603

                                                        New Assignments: Five New Properties

“We’re seeing a big uptick in acquisitions by savvy investors from the east and west coasts that demand sophisticated, professional management”, S.L. van der Zanden, Managing Principal.  80% of our new business has come through our Referral Rewards program which compensates for deals sent our way”. 

commercial real estate management listings

Announcing: Promotion

Saar Schnitman

Real Estate Senior Director

Property Management & Leasing

saar schnitman - commercial real estate senior director

RE|SOLUTIONS is pleased to announce that Saar Schnitman has been promoted from Director to Senior Director of our Property Management and Leasing Divsions. 

In his new position, Saar will take on oversight of our recently expanded portfolio and new staff hired to manage our properties across the Central US region. 

Please note:  This is an opt-in newsletter and is only received by those who joined it or have had interactions with RE|SOLUTIONS EMR.  RE|SOLUTIONS EMR respects your privacy and will never share your email address or any other personal information with anyone.


Another Turnaround Success for RESolutions

In December of 2014, the O’Fallon Walk Shopping Center located in O’Fallon, MO was sold to a Miami-based investor for $9.155 Million – a figure which due to our efforts reflects a 66% increase in value from the best viable bid obtained during an aborted sales offering in 2012.

“We are very pleased with the value added to this asset by the RE|SOLUTIONS’ team,” says Ian Coutts asset manager for Torchlight Investors.

Built in 2005, this 157,000 square foot shopping center lost three junior box tenants during the height of the last recession – Old Navy, Linens & Things and Factory Card Outlet.  With a vacancy of 45%, the property fell into default on its mortgage and resulted in RE|SOLUTIONS being appointed by the special servicer to act as receiver and property manager.

Our analysis of the property revealed a correctable flaw caused by a third-party owned auto mechanics garage “outlot” blocking an important sightline and access to the property. With lender and court approval, we moved quickly to negotiate a purchase option with the owner of the offending land parcel.  The next step we took was to create a new marketing package to more effectively communicate the new proposed access point and view corridor to prospective tenants and purchasers.

“By thinking outside of the box and tying up the land blocking the property, we were able to create a new vision and rekindle interest in the center, and thereby attract a new high-quality grocery store and a large fashion retailer,” Mr. van der Zanden said.

Our actions created momentum that was instrumental in O’Fallon Walk’s turnaround success story.

O’Fallon Walk – Creating the Vision

commercial real estate before after OFallon Walk


Struggling Evergreen Park mall hits market after loan sale fails

(Crain’s, November 25, 2014) – The foreclosure process for one of the oldest—and emptiest—malls in the Chicago area has restarted after a deal collapsed that would have given a Florida real estate developer control of a loan on the property.

Tampa-based DeBartolo Development last year said it would buy a defaulted loan on the Plaza, a 733,986-square-foot mall near 95th Street and Western Avenue in Evergreen Park.

But the loan sale fell apart, confirmed S.L. Van der Zanden, CEO of RESolutions, a Chicago-based company that’s serving as a court-appointed receiver for the mall during the foreclosure process.

The servicer of the loan, Houston-based Situs Holdings, is now forging ahead with the foreclosure and has hired a broker to sell the property, said Van der Zanden.

The loan sale closing date “was extended numerous times and the decision by Situs at this point in time was, they’d prefer not to provide additional extensions on the contract,” he said. “So the contract expired.”

Van der Zanden said he didn’t know why the loan sale fizzled. DeBartolo representatives did not respond to messages. A Situs spokesman declined to comment.


The Plaza, which currently has just four tenants and more than 458,000 square feet of empty, enclosed mall space, is owned by a group of investors led by Kansas City, Mo.-based Provo Group, which is said to be cooperating with the foreclosure. Bruce Provo, president of his namesake firm, said his group is cooperating with Situs and has agreed to give up the property.

DeBartolo’s loan purchase was the first step the firm needed to ultimately take over the mall, demolish it and redevelop the 30-acre site with a $112 million shopping center. In a statement, the firm said it didn’t acquire the loan because it is busy working on other projects.

“After evaluating the opportunity, we decided to focus our resources in the Chicago market on the Optima towers downtown,” the company said in the statement. “We are in the process of beginning construction on a 1.4 million-square-foot regional shopping center in Kapolei, Hawaii, and didn’t want to add any additional regional centers at this time.”

In October, the Village of Evergreen Park signed a memorandum of understanding regarding a redevelopment plan with UP Development, a real estate firm based in suburban Nashville.

The village will negotiate “exclusively” with UP over the redevelopment of the Plaza site through Jan. 31, including over a financial incentive package for a 440,000-square-foot project on the site, according to a copy of the document.

Under the terms of the memo, the village says it will consider providing UP with around $10 million in funds raised through a new bonding district on the property, provide a sales-tax reimbursement to the firm and issue other incentives.

Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton said the village wants to work with UP and won’t negotiate over incentives if a new buyer emerges to buy the property. He said UP was partnering on the project with DeBartolo, which the Tampa-based firm shot down in their statement.

“If we don’t get it going soon, and if we don’t get it going soon with the people we’ve talked to for two years, we’re out,” he said.


“It’s a remarkably urban, in-fill and probably mostly retail redevelopment site,” said Ben Wineman, principal at Mid-America Real Estate, the Oak Brook-based brokerage selling the Plaza. He expects a future owner will seek to demolish the existing mall, given its age and how it is configured.

No buyer has been picked for the mall, he said.

“It’s a wide-open playing field” right now, Wineman said.

The Plaza currently has just four tenants, according to Mid-America marketing materials: a Carson Pirie Scott department store, a Planet Fitness gym, an Applebee’s restaurant and an Enterprise car rental office.

Carson has extended its lease until 2023, and the gym has a lease for its space until 2021, according to the materials. That could complicate plans developers might have to raze the mall and build anew since those tenants would have to be accommodated in the project or bought out of their leases.

The Plaza was developed by famed Chicago developer Arthur Rubloff in the early 1950’s. Later, he converted the property into an enclosed mall, one of the first in the area.