In the latest move to shore up their balance sheet by selling assets, General Growth Properties has packaged up its downtown festival marketplaces for sale. Harborplace and Harborplace Gallery in Baltimore are being bundled up for sale along with Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston and South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan.
It was these city marketplaces that led to Jim Rouse being featured on the cover of Time magazine back in August of 1981. Those were heady days at The Rouse Company when every major city mayor was calling on The Rouse Company to build a festival marketplace in their town.
Times change and the festival marketplace business isn’t what it once was. In truth, the downtown markets were never that profitable for the company to begin with. The operating costs were far higher for these non anchored urban retail centers than they were for traditional suburban retail centers. They held more of a public relations value than anything.
Today, Harborplace generates $114 million in annual retail sales in 285,000 square feet of retail space.