The landlord of retail giant Sears is suing Aventura Mall over a planned $214 million expansion that it calls a “land grab.”
Seritage Growth Properties owns 13 acres at Aventura Mall, including a store that it leases to Sears.
Seritage is asking a judge to stop the expansion, saying it violates an agreement signed in 1982 with the mall’s owners, Turnberry Associates, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. Simon Property Group is a minority partner in the mall.
The suit says that Turnberry never sought Seritage’s permission to build on the land, as required by the agreement. The deal treats several large parking lots owned by Turnberry as common areas.
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John Shubin, an attorney for Seritage, said in a statement that the mall expansion was happening “on mall common areas in clear violation of the longstanding agreement between our property and the mall's property.”
A spokesman for Aventura Mall said Turnberry had not yet been served with the suit and couldn’t comment.
The mall’s expansion will see it grow by 300,000 feet and bring in new retailers. Sears had been planning to redevelop its own property into an open-air shopping center with new shops, restaurants and office space, a plan that would put the retailer into direct competition with Turnberry.
Seritage is a publicly traded real estate investment trust that was spun off from Sears Holdings. It now owns Sears stores nationwide and leases them back to the retailer. Investors include Sears Holdings owner Eddie Lampert and Warren Buffett.
The mall fight features two billionaire neighbors: Lampert and Turnberry co-owner Jeffrey Soffer both live in ultra-exclusive Indian Creek Village.