Here’s why the biggest U.S. mall owner might want to buy JC Penney

Simon Property Group might want to own bankrupt J.C. Penney in order to be able to redevelop some of its best real estate and make it even better, according to one analyst. “We believe Simon wants to control the J.C. Penney boxes and land so that it can ultimately redevelop many of these in order to densify and introduce mixed use elements,” Compass Point real estate analyst Floris van Dijkum said. “A redevelopment (that would require zoning approvals, capital, and time) could unlock significantly greater value while boosting traffic for the retail.” Simon is considering teaming up with Brookfield Properties and Barneys New York parent company Authentic Brands Group to make a bid for J.C. Penney, a person familiar with the talks told CNBC. The person requested anonymity because the discussions are private and remain ongoing. Simon, the biggest mall owner in the country, has a Penney store in about 50% of its U.S. malls, based on van Dijkum’s analysis. It had 63 Penney department stores as of the end of the first quarter. The land value for Penney’s owned stores, not the leased locations, is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion, he said. Hit by the coronavirus pandemic and suffering from an overhang of debt, Penney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May. At the time, it had roughly 850 locations, but it has already started whittling down its portfolio of stores. It recently announced the addresses of more than 100 locations closing over the summer. Click to read more at