2017 | Business

Business Notes: Lakeforest Mall Sold for Fraction of Former Worth

Plus: Suburban Hospital adds new surgical director; Gaithersburg biotech firm moving to larger headquarters

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Lakeforest Mall

via JLL Property leasing website

Lakeforest Mall sells for fraction of its former worth in foreclosure auction

The Gaithersburg mall sold Tuesday for $19.1 million to U.S. Bank at a foreclosure auction in front of Montgomery Circuit Court—a sale price far less than the approximately $100 million that Connecticut-based Five Mile Capital paid for the shopping center in 2012, according to The Washington Business Journal.

U.S. Bank bid on the mall as a trustee for the noteholder on the loan the mall’s owner, Five Mile, had used to purchase the property. Five Mile sought to refinance it in mid-2016, but the proposal was not accepted so the foreclosure process began in March. Five Mile owed about $80 million to the bank when it stopped paying loan payments in January, according to the report.

It’s not clear what U.S. Bank plans to do with the mall, which was built in 1978. It still has anchor tenants such as Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, JCPenney and Sears.

The Business Journal reported that the mall’s appraised value has fallen from $218.9 million in 2005 to $40.2 million this year. Five Mile planned to renovate the property, but those plans fizzled out in 2013. Suburban malls such as Lakeforest have been struggling across the country, with dozens closing in the last 10 years as more and more shoppers turn to online retail or outdoor mixed-use shopping centers.

The mall generated about $6.18 million in 2016—more than 50 percent less than the $14.68 million it generated when Five Mile purchased the property in 2012, according to the Business Journal.

Update – What's Next for Lakeforest Mall?


Suburban Hospital names new director for cardiothoracic surgery program

The Bethesda hospital tapped Dr. Thomas L. Matthew to lead the program that handles surgeries to treat heart and lung conditions.

Matthew joins the hospital after working as the co-director of the cardiovascular service line at the Colorado Health Medical Group. He received his medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center.

Photo of Dr. Thomas Matthew provided by Suburban Hospital


Altimmune relocating to larger Gaithersburg headquarters

The biotechnology company Altimmune plans to relocate to a new 14,000-square-foot location on Clopper Road in Gaithersburg early next year. The company sought the new headquarters after it merged with Annapolis-based PharmAthene at the beginning of this year.

Altimmune plans to add 45 jobs—more than tripling its current employment level of 14 full-time jobs.

The company develops treatments for a range of diseases such as respiratory infections, chronic viral infections and cancer. Altimmune has been based in Montgomery County for six years.

“Montgomery County is one of the most dynamic centers in the country for life sciences businesses, with a strong pool of experienced clinical development talent,” CEO Bill Enright said in a statement. “As we advance our clinical programs, we see this location as strategic to our future growth.


Maryland adds 11,500 private sector jobs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last week that the state added 11,500 private sector jobs in July, which dropped the state’s unemployment rate from 4.1 percent to 4.0 percent. The education and health services sector led the job gains with 9,800 new jobs, while the mining, logging and construction sector increased by 2,700 jobs.