Unbelievable! The real estate deal of the year in Chattanooga. That works out to less than $14 psf. The seller literally gave it away. CBL built it in the. 70s ( for a lot more than that!), sold it for a profit and 40 years later bought it for pennies on dollar. Sell or hold.. It's a winner. Proof that in times like these cash is truly king.
I was surprised a CBL exec would step out of the shadows and even comment on the Amazon deal. Major shopping centers (like Hamilton Place) often just don't get built without some type of public subsidy. Tax freeze, special taxing district, grant, or major publicly paid infrastructure improvements. In an ideal world, these subsidies would not exist for any private business. However, that is not the world we live in. It is very competitive at the state and local level to attract business and jobs to their communities. Not to mention, jobs get politicians elected.
The main reason these deals are done is in the name of jobs. Bringing in major developments such as VW, Amazon, or a Hamilton Place not only creates direct jobs but also creates hundreds of spin off jobs, that add to the tax base and justifies the initial incentives provided by local and state governments. CBL has certainly had its fair share of incentives and tax breaks over the years. These breaks got deals done and at the end of the day probably worked out well for all sides including the tax payer. This same CBL executive was promoting his own deal (reported by TFP: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2008/apr/29/top-story-0429/) a mere 36 months ago, to have tax payers subsidize a major expansion at Hamilton Place. The voice from CBL could be sour grapes that CBL deal hasn't moved forward. I can assure you that if the shoe where on the other foot, the Amazon facility would clearly not be retail facility but a warehouse/industrial use. As someone already noted, you cannot physically do to this facility and go "shopping". In any event, I suggest Mr. Lebovitz return to the large glass house and dim the lights. His opposition may come back to roost in the future.