Country Club Plaza to sell for $660 million

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Highwoods Properties didn’t wade deep into 2016 to stitch up a sale of the Country Club Plaza, announcing on Monday it had reached an agreement to sell Kansas City’s landmark shopping district.

The Plaza is expected to sell to a joint venture, made up of two out-of-town real estate investment trusts, for $660 million.

California-based Macerich Company and Taubman Centers, of Michigan, formed Country Club Plaza KC Partners LLC, the entity that is expected to close on the acquisition of the Plaza on February 1.

Highwoods announced in 2015 that it wanted to sell the Plaza, primarily to finance its acquisition of office buildings in other markets. If closing occurs as expected (Macerich and Taubman have posted a $25 million earnest deposit), it will end Highwoods’ nearly two-decade run as the owner of Kansas City’s prized retail jewel.

Monday’s announcement revealed that the Plaza generated $31 million in net operating income in 2015. It’s almost entirely leased.

While the Plaza was a moneymaker for Highwoods, it was always a weird piece of the North Carolina-based company’s real estate holdings. Highwoods’ portfolio has typically concentrated on office buildings rather than on retail centers. The Plaza has almost twice the amount of retail space than it does office square footage.

The Plaza is more at home with companies like Macerich and Taubman. Macerich owns 50 regional shopping centers. In 2013, Macerich was one of the bidders on the Legends in Wyandotte County when that property was subject to a federal court auction; it was outbid by KKR.

Highwoods isn’t entirely out of Kansas City. It still owns half of the Plaza Colonnade office building (the local headquarters for the Husch Blackwell law firm) and 12.5 percent of the office building at 4600 Madison Avenue (the one near the Plaza with the Bernstein-Rein Advertising logo on it).

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