The Belmar shopping center, one of Lakewood’s most prominent retail developments, is in foreclosure, Jefferson County documents show.
The center’s failing finances, first reported by 9News on Tuesday, were outlined in a public notice filed by the Jefferson County Public Trustee’s office in late October. The notice showed that the registered property owner, Belmar Commercial Owner LP, owes $108.8 million on an original $111 million loan.
The debt holders on the property have filed the necessary paperwork to force a sale under the terms of the deed, the Oct. 26 trustee’s notice says. A public auction date was set for Feb. 25, according to the public trustee.
Belmar opened in 2004, an open-air shopping district designed to serve as a defacto downtown for Lakewood. It took the place of a defunct retail center, the former Villa Italia mall at the southeast corner of South Wadsworth Boulevard and West Alameda Avenue.
Today, the center’s website says more than 80 local and national companies lease space on the campus, bringing shopping, dining and entertainment options to the west side of the metro area. Major tenants include Target, Whole Foods Market and a Century Theatres movie theater.
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In an interview with 9News, attorney Kent Karber, who represents one of Belmar’s lenders, laid some of the blame for the center’s struggles on COVID-19-related business shutdowns.
“Because of the shutdowns, they had an immediate effect on their cash flow, which put oftentimes their loans or their leases into default,” Karber told the news station.
City officials also highlighted the pandemic as a contributor to the financial hole the property owner is in a statement that expresses optimism for Belmar’s future.
“While the company that currently owns the Belmar shopping district is struggling with challenges from the pandemic, the city remains confident that the district’s popularity and its marketplace components will continue and improve as recovery from the pandemic gets underway,” the statement reads.
A voicemail left for the Belmar center’s management office was not immediately returned on Wednesday afternoon.
Belmar is owned by Starwood Retail Partners, a division of Starwood Captial Group, an international real estate-focused investment firm. A message left with a company representative in Starwood’s San Francisco office seeking more information about the foreclosure also was not returned on Wednesday afternoon.