IStar plans to keep Westgate, works on rebranding

By Mike Sunnucks

Phoenix Business Journal

The real estate investment trust that took ownership of Westgate City Center in the wake of last year’s foreclosure of Steve Ellman-owned entities plans to hold on to the Glendale property.

New York-based iStar Financial Inc. is rebranding the mixed-used development as the Westgate Entertainment District and has spent $300,000 on some upgrades to common areas and parking.

David Sotolov, senior vice president of iStar, said the REIT does not plan to sell Westgate and expects a major boost for the center when the newly built Tanger outlet mall opens Nov. 15.

IStar acquired lender-owned parking lots at Westgate in May. The Tanger mall sits on some of those areas.

The lots were owned by Credit Suisse and other banks, which also foreclosed last year on Westgate companies controlled by developer and former Phoenix Coyotes owner Steve Ellman.

Sotolov said iStar and property manager Vestar Development are talking with six new restaurants and retail tenants about locating at Westgate. He expects at least two of those to finalize leases before the end of the year.

Westgate’s commercial space is 30 percent vacant.

New tenants could include some national names and fast-casual restaurants on the north end of the 518,000-square-foot complex.

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