Saturday, October 25, 2008

Feelin' Fallish

Last night Mama Wordbones and I cruised through the mall. It was the day before her birthday and we were visiting jewelry stores. We visited six of them to be exact. The one she liked best was Littman Jewelers and the worst was Kay Jewelers.

One of the six we visited was Connell Jewelers. This is a non chain locally owned jeweler. Last night I discovered that the Connells had sold their store. I didn’t catch the new owner’s names but they seemed like good guys. It remains a non chain locally owned store.

Around 7:00 PM this dog’s stomach was growling and so we decided to hop over to Clyde’s for dinner. It felt cold as we walked down to the lakefront.

“Feels like fall now,” I remarked. Mama Wordbones said her feet were cold.

Much to our surprise when we walked into Clyde’s there were more than a few available tables. Later, Paul Kraft, the GM, stopped by our table and he acknowledged that it was an unusually slow Friday night.

“It’s the economy,” he speculated.

Mama Wordbones and I thought that it was the sudden arrival of a chilly night that was keeping folks at home.

It was most likely the economy though. The ripples of the financial crisis are certainly being felt locally. General Growth Properties is facing a “perfect storm” of its own financial crisis. Faced with a heavy load of debt that is coming due they find themselves trying to raise new capital in a very difficult and uncertain lending market. It is not an impossible task but it will take a herculean effort on the part of the company and its dedicated employees to get there. I wish them success.
To raise some cash, the company is soliciting offers for two Town Center office buildings. Neither of these buildings would be affected by the proposed redevelopment plans for that area of Town Center. Even though these Class A office properties are attractive assets they will have a difficult time fetching a top dollar offer given the current environment where most buyers are focused on distressed assets.

By the time we left Clyde’s around eight thirty, all the tables were full. As we walked back outside it seemed as if it had actually warmed up a bit.

Things are seldom as bad as they seem.


Dave W said...

I keep hearing about the bad ecomony, but we went out to Arundel Mills Mall on Saturday afternoon and the place was mobbed. You would have thought it was Christmas with teh number of cars in the parking lots. Then we went to the Columbia Mall on Saturday night and the place was also absolutely packed. Finding a parking spot near the theater was nearly impossible. The wait at PF Changs was an hour and 15 minutes and even at Champps, the wait was nearly a half hour just to get our table. Then the movie theater was sold out for the showing of Pride and Glory (with Coumbia's Ed Norton) and High School Musical.