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Section 1: 10-K (FORM 10-K)

cbl-10k_20191231.htm
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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019

Or

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM _ TO _

COMMISSION FILE NO. 1-12494 (CBL & ASSOCIATES PROPERTIES, INC.)

COMMISSION FILE NO. 333-182515-01 (CBL & ASSOCIATES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP)

 

CBL & ASSOCIATES PROPERTIES, INC.

CBL & ASSOCIATES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

 

Delaware (CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.)

Delaware (CBL & Associates Limited Partnership)

(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)

 

62-1545718

62-1542285

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

 

 

2030 Hamilton Place Blvd., Suite 500

Chattanooga, TN

 

37421

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:    423.855.0001

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.:

 

Securities registered under Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each Class

 

Trading

Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on

which registered

Common Stock, $0.01 par value

 

CBL

 

New York Stock Exchange

7.375% Series D Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value

 

CBLprD

 

New York Stock Exchange

6.625% Series E Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value

 

CBLprE

 

New York Stock Exchange

CBL & Associates Limited Partnership: None

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.: None

CBL & Associates Limited Partnership: None 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

 

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.

 

  Yes     

No  

CBL & Associates Limited Partnership

 

  Yes     

No  

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.

 

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.

 

  Yes     

No  

CBL & Associates Limited Partnership

 

  Yes     

No  

 

 


 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

 

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.

 

  Yes      

No  

CBL & Associates Limited Partnership

 

  Yes      

No  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

 

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.

 

  Yes      

No  

CBL & Associates Limited Partnership

 

  Yes      

No  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.

 

 

Large accelerated filer

 

 

Accelerated filer

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

 

Smaller Reporting Company

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CBL & Associates Limited Partnership

 

 

Large accelerated filer

 

 

Accelerated filer

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

 

Smaller Reporting Company

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

 

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.

 

  Yes     

No 

CBL & Associates Limited Partnership

 

  Yes     

No 

 

The aggregate market value of the 169,176,047 shares of CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.'s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2019 was $ 175,943,089, based on the closing price of $1.04 per share on the New York Stock Exchange on June 28, 2019. (For this computation, the registrant has excluded the market value of all shares of its common stock reported as beneficially owned by executive officers and directors of the registrant; such exclusion shall not be deemed to constitute an admission that any such person is an “affiliate” of the registrant.)

As of February 28, 2020, 175,633,044 shares of common stock were outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.’s Proxy Statement for the 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference in Part III .

 

 


 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

This report combines the annual reports on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 of CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. and CBL & Associates Limited Partnership. Unless stated otherwise or the context otherwise requires, references to the "Company" mean CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. and its subsidiaries. References to the "Operating Partnership" mean CBL & Associates Limited Partnership and its subsidiaries. The terms "we," "us" and "our" refer to the Company or the Company and the Operating Partnership collectively, as the context requires.

The Company is a real estate investment trust ("REIT") whose stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The Company is the 100% owner of two qualified REIT subsidiaries, CBL Holdings I, Inc. and CBL Holdings II, Inc. At December 31, 2019, CBL Holdings I, Inc., the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership, owned a 1.0% general partner interest in the Operating Partnership and CBL Holdings II, Inc. owned an 86.0% limited partner interest for a combined interest held by the Company of 87.0%.

As the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership, the Company's subsidiary, CBL Holdings I, Inc., has exclusive control of the Operating Partnership's activities. Management operates the Company and the Operating Partnership as one business. The management of the Company consists of the same individuals that manage the Operating Partnership. The Company's only material asset is its indirect ownership of partnership interests of the Operating Partnership. As a result, the Company conducts substantially all its business through the Operating Partnership as described in the preceding paragraph. The Company also issues public equity from time to time and guarantees certain debt of the Operating Partnership. The Operating Partnership holds all of the assets and indebtedness of the Company and, through affiliates, retains the ownership interests in the Company's joint ventures. Except for the net proceeds of offerings of equity by the Company, which are contributed to the Operating Partnership in exchange for partnership units on a one-for-one basis, the Operating Partnership generates all remaining capital required by the Company's business through its operations and its incurrence of indebtedness.

We believe that combining the two annual reports on Form 10-K for the Company and the Operating Partnership provides the following benefits:

 

 

enhances investors' understanding of the Company and the Operating Partnership by enabling investors to view the business as a whole in the same manner that management views and operates the business;

 

eliminates duplicative disclosure and provides a more streamlined and readable presentation, since a substantial portion of the disclosure applies to both the Company and the Operating Partnership; and

 

creates time and cost efficiencies through the preparation of one combined report instead of two separate reports.

To help investors understand the differences between the Company and the Operating Partnership, this report provides separate consolidated financial statements for the Company and the Operating Partnership. Noncontrolling interests, shareholders' equity and partners' capital are the main areas of difference between the consolidated financial statements of the Company and those of the Operating Partnership. A single set of notes to consolidated financial statements is presented that includes separate discussions for the Company and the Operating Partnership, when applicable. A combined Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations section is also included that presents combined information and discrete information related to each entity, as applicable.

In order to highlight the differences between the Company and the Operating Partnership, this report includes the following sections that provide separate financial and other information for the Company and the Operating Partnership:

 

consolidated financial statements;

 

certain accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements, including Note 2 - Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, Note 8 - Mortgage and Other Indebtedness, Net, Note 9 - Shareholders' Equity and Partners' Capital and Note 10 - Redeemable Interests and Noncontrolling Interests;

 

information concerning unregistered sales of equity securities and use of proceeds in Item 5 of Part II of this report;

 

selected financial data in Item 6 of Part II of this report;

 

controls and procedures in Item 9A of Part II of this report; and

 

certifications of the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer included as Exhibits 31.1 through 32.4.

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page

Number

 

 

 

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

1

 

 

 

PART I

 

 

 

 

1.

Business

2

1A.

Risk Factors

6

1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

27

2.

Properties

27

3.

Legal Proceedings

43

4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

45

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

5.

Market For Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

46

6.

Selected Financial Data

47

7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

50

7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

71

8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

71

9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

72

9A.

Controls and Procedures

72

9B.

Other Information

77

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

 

10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

78

11.

Executive Compensation

78

12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

78

13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

78

14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

 

15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

79

16.

Form 10-K Summary

79

Index to Exhibits

143

Signatures

147

 

 

 

 


 

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements  

Certain statements included or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may be deemed “forward looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws.  All statements other than statements of historical fact should be considered to be forward-looking statements. In many cases, these forward looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as “will,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “projects,” “goals,” “objectives,” “targets,” “predicts,” “plans,” “seeks,” and variations of these words and similar expressions.  Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the factors discussed throughout this report. 

Although we believe the expectations reflected in any forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or results and we can give no assurance that these expectations will be attained.  It is possible that actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements due to a variety of known and unknown risks and uncertainties. In addition to the risk factors discussed in Part I, Item 1A of this report, such known risks and uncertainties include, without limitation:

 

general industry, economic and business conditions;

 

interest rate fluctuations;

 

costs and availability of capital and capital requirements;

 

costs and availability of real estate;

 

inability to consummate acquisition opportunities and other risks associated with acquisitions;

 

competition from other companies and retail formats;

 

changes in retail demand and rental rates in our markets;

 

shifts in customer demands including the impact of online shopping;

 

tenant bankruptcies or store closings;

 

changes in vacancy rates at our Properties;

 

changes in operating expenses;

 

changes in applicable laws, rules and regulations;

 

sales of real property;

 

cyber-attacks or acts of cyber-terrorism;

 

changes in the credit ratings of the Operating Partnership's senior unsecured long-term indebtedness;

 

the ability to obtain suitable equity and/or debt financing and the continued availability of financing, in the amounts and on the terms necessary to support our future refinancing requirements and business; and

 

other risks referenced from time to time in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and those factors listed or incorporated by reference into this report.

This list of risks and uncertainties is only a summary and is not intended to be exhaustive.  We disclaim any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect actual results or changes in the factors affecting the forward-looking information.

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PART I

ITEM 1. BUSINESS  

Background

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. (“CBL”) was organized on July 13, 1993, as a Delaware corporation, to acquire substantially all of the real estate properties owned by CBL & Associates, Inc., which was formed by Charles B. Lebovitz in 1978, and by certain of its related parties.  On November 3, 1993, CBL completed an initial public offering (the “Offering”). Simultaneously with the completion of the Offering, CBL & Associates, Inc., its shareholders and affiliates and certain senior officers of the Company (collectively, “CBL’s Predecessor”) transferred substantially all of their interests in its real estate properties to CBL & Associates Limited Partnership (the “Operating Partnership”) in exchange for common units of limited partner interest in the Operating Partnership. The interests in the Operating Partnership contain certain conversion rights that are more fully described in Note 9 to the consolidated financial statements. The terms “we,” “us” and “our” refer to the Company or the Company and the Operating Partnership collectively, as the context requires. 

The Company’s Business

We are a self-managed, self-administered, fully integrated REIT. We own, develop, acquire, lease, manage, and operate regional shopping malls, open-air and mixed-use centers, outlet centers, associated centers, community centers, office and other properties. Our Properties are located in 26 states, but are primarily in the southeastern and midwestern United States. We have elected to be taxed as a REIT for federal income tax purposes.

We conduct substantially all of our business through CBL & Associates Limited Partnership (the "Operating Partnership"), which is a variable interest entity ("VIE"). We are the 100% owner of two qualified REIT subsidiaries, CBL Holdings I, Inc. and CBL Holdings II, Inc. CBL Holdings I, Inc. is the sole general partner of the Operating Partnership. At December 31, 2019, CBL Holdings I, Inc. owned a 1.0% general partner interest and CBL Holdings II, Inc. owned an 86.0% limited partner interest in the Operating Partnership, for a combined interest held by us of 87.0%.

See Note 1 to the consolidated financial statements for information on our Properties as of December 31, 2019. As of December 31, 2019, we owned mortgages on four Properties, each of which is collateralized by either a first mortgage, a second mortgage or by assignment of 100% of the ownership interests in the underlying real estate and related improvements (the “Mortgages”). The Malls, All Other Properties ("Associated Centers, Community Centers, Office Buildings and Self-storage Facilities"), Properties under development ("Construction Properties") and Mortgages are collectively referred to as the “Properties” and individually as a “Property.”

We conduct our property management and development activities through CBL & Associates Management, Inc. (the “Management Company”) to comply with certain requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Internal Revenue Code").  The Operating Partnership owns 100% of the Management Company’s outstanding preferred stock and common stock.

The Management Company manages all but 14 of the Properties. Governor’s Square and Governor’s Square Plaza in Clarksville, TN, Kentucky Oaks Mall in Paducah, KY, Fremaux Town Center in Slidell, LA, Ambassador Town Center in Lafayette, LA, EastGate Mall - Self-Storage in Cincinnati, OH, Mid Rivers – Self-Storage in St. Peters, MO, Hamilton Place – Self-Storage in Chattanooga, TN, Parkdale – Self-Storage in Beaumont, TX, The Outlet Shoppes at El Paso in El Paso, TX, The Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in Woodstock, GA and The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, KY are all owned by unconsolidated joint ventures and are managed by a property manager that is affiliated with the third-party partner, which receives a fee for its services. The third-party partner of each of these Properties controls the cash flow distributions, although our approval is required for certain major decisions.  The Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg in Gettysburg, PA and The Outlet Shoppes at Laredo in Laredo, TX are owned by consolidated joint ventures and managed by a property manager that is affiliated with the third-party partner, which receives a fee for its services.

Rental revenues are primarily derived from leases with retail tenants and generally include fixed minimum rents, percentage rents based on tenants’ sales volumes and reimbursements from tenants for expenditures related to real estate taxes, insurance, common area maintenance ("CAM") and other recoverable operating expenses, as well as certain capital expenditures. We also generate revenues from management, leasing and development fees, sponsorships, sales of peripheral land at the Properties and from sales of operating real estate assets when it is determined that we can realize an appropriate value for the assets. Proceeds from such sales are generally used to retire related indebtedness or reduce outstanding balances on our credit facility. 

The following terms used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K will have the meanings described below:

 

GLA – refers to gross leasable area of space in square feet, including Anchors and Mall tenants.

 

Anchor – refers to a department store, other large retail store, non-retail space or theater greater than or equal to 50,000 square feet.

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Junior Anchor - retail store, non-retail space or theater comprising more than 20,000 square feet and less than 50,000 square feet.

 

Freestanding – Property locations that are not attached to the primary complex of buildings that comprise the mall shopping center.

 

Outparcel – land used for freestanding developments, such as retail stores, banks and restaurants, which are generally on the periphery of the Properties.

 

2023 Notes - $450 million of senior unsecured notes issued by the Operating Partnership in November 2013 that bear interest at 5.25% and mature on December 1, 2023.

 

2024 Notes - $300 million of senior unsecured notes issued by the Operating Partnership in October 2014 that bear interest at 4.60% and mature on October 15, 2024.

 

2026 Notes - $625 million of senior unsecured notes issued by the Operating Partnership in December 2016 and September 2017 that bear interest at 5.95% and mature on December 15, 2026 (and, collectively with the 2023 Notes and 2024 Notes, the "Notes"). See Note 8 to the consolidated financial statements for additional information on the Notes.

Significant Markets and Tenants  

Top Five Markets

Our top five markets, based on percentage of total revenues, were as follows for the year ended December 31, 2019:

 

Market

 

Percentage of

Total Revenues

 

St. Louis, MO

 

 

6.8

%

Chattanooga, TN

 

 

5.2

%

Laredo, TX

 

 

4.2

%

Lexington, KY

 

 

4.1

%

Madison, WI

 

 

3.1

%

 

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Top 25 Tenants

Our top 25 tenants based on percentage of total revenues were as follows for the year ended December 31, 2019:

 

 

 

Tenant

 

Number of

Stores

 

 

Square

Feet

 

 

Percentage

of Total

Revenues (1)

 

1

 

L Brands, Inc. (2)

 

 

128

 

 

 

763,091

 

 

 

4.25

%

2

 

Signet Jewelers Limited (3)

 

 

156

 

 

 

227,731

 

 

 

2.87

%

3

 

Foot Locker, Inc.

 

 

109

 

 

 

510,740

 

 

 

2.78

%

4

 

AE Outfitters Retail Company

 

 

66

 

 

 

414,111

 

 

 

2.18

%

5

 

Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. (4)

 

 

25

 

 

 

1,396,850

 

 

 

1.68

%

6

 

Ascena Retail Group, Inc. (5)

 

 

114

 

 

 

544,193

 

 

 

1.52

%

7

 

H & M

 

 

45

 

 

 

956,736

 

 

 

1.50

%

8

 

Genesco, Inc. (6)

 

 

103

 

 

 

198,305

 

 

 

1.47

%

9

 

The Gap, Inc.

 

 

58

 

 

 

662,339

 

 

 

1.42

%

10

 

Luxottica Group, S.P.A. (7)

 

 

101

 

 

 

230,634

 

 

 

1.31

%

11

 

Finish Line, Inc.

 

 

43

 

 

 

224,603

 

 

 

1.21

%

12

 

Express Fashions

 

 

39

 

 

 

321,142

 

 

 

1.19

%

13

 

The Buckle, Inc.

 

 

43

 

 

 

223,308

 

 

 

1.12

%

14

 

Forever 21 Retail, Inc.

 

 

19

 

 

 

353,805

 

 

 

1.01

%

15

 

Abercrombie & Fitch, Co.

 

 

42

 

 

 

276,693

 

 

 

1.00

%

16

 

JC Penney Company, Inc. (8)

 

 

47

 

 

 

5,695,980

 

 

 

0.95

%

17

 

Cinemark

 

 

9

 

 

 

467,190

 

 

 

0.91

%

18

 

Barnes & Noble Inc.

 

 

17

 

 

 

521,273

 

 

 

0.89

%

19

 

Shoe Show, Inc.

 

 

40

 

 

 

501,248

 

 

 

0.87

%

20

 

Hot Topic, Inc.

 

 

99

 

 

 

229,918

 

 

 

0.87

%

21

 

The Children's Place Retail Stores, Inc.

 

 

41

 

 

 

181,032

 

 

 

0.76

%

22

 

Claire's Stores, Inc.

 

 

79

 

 

 

99,647

 

 

 

0.73

%

23

 

PSEB Group (9)

 

 

38

 

 

 

182,860

 

 

 

0.69

%

24

 

Ulta

 

 

26

 

 

 

268,697

 

 

 

0.69

%

25

 

Macy's Inc. (10)

 

 

31

 

 

 

4,536,623

 

 

 

0.66

%

 

 

 

 

 

1,518

 

 

 

19,988,749

 

 

 

34.53

%

 

(1)

Includes the Company's proportionate share of revenues from unconsolidated affiliates based on the Company's ownership percentage in the respective joint venture and any other applicable terms.

(2)

L Brands, Inc. operates Bath & Body Works, PINK, Victoria's Secret and White Barn Candle.

(3)

Signet Jewelers Limited operates Belden Jewelers, Jared Jewelers, JB Robinson, Kay Jewelers, LeRoy's Jewelers, Marks & Morgan, Osterman's Jewelers, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda, Rogers Jewelers, Shaw's Jewelers, Ultra Diamonds and Zales.

(4)

Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc. operates Dick's Sporting Goods, Field & Stream and Golf Galaxy.

(5)

Ascena Retail Group, Inc. operates Ann Taylor, Catherines, Justice, Lane Bryant, LOFT and Lou & Grey. Ascena closed all Dress Barn stores as of December 31, 2019.

(6)

Genesco Inc. operates Clubhouse, Hat Shack, Hat Zone, Johnston & Murphy, Journey's, Shi by Journey's and Underground by Journeys. Genesco sold all Lids, Lids Locker Room and Lids Sports Group stores in February 2019.

(7)

Luxottica Group, S.P.A. operates Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision and Sunglass Hut.

(8)

JC Penney Company, Inc. owns 29 of these stores.

(9)

PSEB Group operates Eddie Bauer and PacSun.

(10)

Macy's, Inc. owns 20 of these stores

Operating Strategy

Our objective is to achieve stabilization in same-center net operating income ("NOI") and reduce our overall cost of debt and equity by maximizing total earnings before income taxes, depreciation and amortization for real estate ("EBITDA re ") and cash flows through a variety of methods as further discussed below.

Same-center NOI is a non-GAAP measure. For a description of same-center NOI, a reconciliation from net income (loss) to same-center NOI, and an explanation of why we believe this is a useful performance measure, see Non-GAAP Measure - Same-center Net Operating Income in “Results of Operations.”

4


 

Leasing, Management and Marketing  

Our objective is to maximize cash flows from our existing Properties through:

 

aggressive leasing that seeks to increase occupancy and facilitate an optimal merchandise mix,

 

originating and renewing leases at higher gross rents per square foot compared to the previous lease,

 

merchandising, marketing, sponsorship and promotional activities and

 

actively controlling operating costs.

Redevelopments  

Redevelopments represent situations where we capitalize on opportunities to increase the productivity of previously occupied space through aesthetic upgrades, retenanting and/or changing the use of the space. We may use all or only a portion of the prior-tenant square footage. Many times, redevelopments result from acquiring or regaining possession of Anchor space (such as former Sears and Bon-Ton stores) and subdividing it into multiple spaces.

Renovations

Renovations usually include remodeling and upgrading existing facades, uniform signage, new entrances and floor coverings, updating interior décor, resurfacing parking areas and improving the lighting of interiors and parking areas. Renovations can result in attracting new retailers, increased rental rates, sales and occupancy levels and maintaining the Property's market dominance.

Shadow Redevelopment Pipeline

We are continually pursuing redevelopment opportunities and have projects in various stages of pre-development. Our shadow pipeline consists of projects for Properties on which we have completed initial analysis and design but which have not commenced construction as of December 31, 2019.

See "Liquidity and Capital Resources" section for information on the projects completed during 2019 and under construction at December 31, 2019.

Acquisitions

We believe there is opportunity for growth through acquisitions of retail centers and anchor stores that complement our portfolio. We selectively acquire properties we believe can appreciate in value by increasing NOI through our development, leasing and management expertise. However, our primary focus at this time is on opportunities to acquire anchors at our Properties for future redevelopment uses.

Environmental Matters

A discussion of the current effects and potential impacts on our business and Properties of compliance with federal, state and local environmental regulations is presented in Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under the subheading “Risks Related to Real Estate Investments.”

Competition

The Properties compete with various shopping facilities in attracting retailers to lease space. In addition, retailers at our Properties face competition from discount shopping centers, outlet centers, wholesale clubs, direct mail, television shopping networks, the internet and other retail shopping developments. The extent of the retail competition varies from market to market. We work aggressively to attract customers through marketing promotions and social media campaigns. Many of our retailers have adopted an omni-channel approach which leverages sales through both digital and traditional retailing channels.

5


 

Seasonality

The shopping center business is, to some extent, seasonal in nature with tenants typically achieving the highest levels of sales during the fourth quarter due to the holiday season, which generally results in higher percentage rent income in the fourth quarter. Additionally, the Malls earn most of their “temporary” rents (rents from short-term tenants) during the holiday period. Thus, occupancy levels and revenue production are generally the highest in the fourth quarter of each year. Results of operations realized in any one quarter may not be indicative of the results likely to be experienced over the course of our fiscal year.

Equity

Common Stock and Common Units

Our authorized common stock consists of 350,000,000 shares at $0.01 par value per share. We had 174,115,111 and 172,656,458 shares of common stock issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The Operating Partnership had 200,189,077 and 199,414,863 common units outstanding as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Preferred Stock

Our authorized preferred stock consists of 15,000,000 shares at $0.01 par value per share. See Note 9 to the consolidated financial statements for a description of our outstanding cumulative redeemable preferred stock.

Financial Information about Segments

See Note 12 to the consolidated financial statements for information about our reportable segments.

Employees

CBL does not have any employees other than its statutory officers.  Our Management Company had 493 full-time and 101 part-time employees as of December 31, 2019. None of our employees are represented by a union.

Corporate Offices

Our principal executive offices are located at CBL Center, 2030 Hamilton Place Boulevard, Suite 500, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37421 and our telephone number is (423) 855-0001.

Available Information

There is additional information about us on our web site at cblproperties.com . Electronic copies of our Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, as well as any amendments to those reports, are available free of charge by visiting the “invest” section of our web site. These reports are posted as soon as reasonably practical after they are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The information on our web site is not, and should not be considered, a part of this Form 10-K. 

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS  

Set forth below are certain factors that may adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.  Any one or more of the following factors may cause our actual results for various financial reporting periods to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by us, or on our behalf. See “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” contained herein on page 1

RISKS RELATED TO REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS

Real property investments are subject to various risks, many of which are beyond our control, which could cause declines in the operating revenues and/or the underlying value of one or more of our Properties.

A number of factors may decrease the income generated by a retail shopping center property, including: 

 

national, regional and local economic climates, which may be negatively impacted by loss of jobs, production slowdowns, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, acts of violence, war or terrorism, declines in residential real estate activity and other factors which tend to reduce consumer spending on retail goods;

 

pandemic outbreaks, or the threat of pandemic outbreaks, which could cause customers of our tenants to avoid public places where large crowds are in attendance, such as shopping centers and related entertainment, hotel, office or restaurant properties operated by our tenants;

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adverse changes in levels of consumer spending, consumer confidence and seasonal spending (especially during the holiday season when many retailers generate a disproportionate amount of their annual profits);

 

local real estate conditions, such as an oversupply of, or reduction in demand for, retail space or retail goods, and the availability and creditworthiness of current and prospective tenants;

 

increased operating costs, such as increases in repairs and maintenance, real property taxes, utility rates and insurance premiums;

 

delays or cost increases associated with the opening of new properties or redevelopment and expansion of properties, due to higher than estimated construction costs, cost overruns, delays in receiving zoning, occupancy or other governmental approvals, lack of availability of materials and labor, weather conditions, and similar factors which may be outside our ability to control;

 

perceptions by retailers or shoppers of the safety, convenience and attractiveness of the shopping center; and

 

the convenience and quality of competing retail properties and other retailing options, such as the internet and the adverse impact of online sales.

In addition, other factors may adversely affect the value of our Properties without affecting their current revenues, including:

 

adverse changes in governmental regulations, such as local zoning and land use laws, environmental regulations or local tax structures that could inhibit our ability to proceed with development, expansion or renovation activities that otherwise would be beneficial to our Properties;

 

potential environmental or other legal liabilities that reduce the amount of funds available to us for investment in our Properties;

 

any inability to obtain sufficient financing (including construction financing, permanent debt, unsecured notes issuances, lines of credit and term loans), or the inability to obtain such financing on commercially favorable terms, to fund repayment of maturing loans, new developments, acquisitions, and property redevelopments, expansions and renovations which otherwise would benefit our Properties; and

 

an environment of rising interest rates, which could negatively impact both the value of commercial real estate such as retail shopping centers and the overall retail climate.

Illiquidity of real estate investments could significantly affect our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our Properties and harm our financial condition.

Substantially all of our consolidated assets consist of investments in real properties. Because real estate investments are relatively illiquid, our ability to quickly sell one or more Properties in our portfolio in response to changing economic, financial and investment conditions is limited. The real estate market is affected by many factors, such as general economic conditions, availability of financing, interest rates and other factors, including supply and demand for space, that are beyond our control. We cannot predict whether we will be able to sell any Property for the price or on the terms we set, or whether any price or other terms offered by a prospective purchaser would be acceptable to us. We also cannot predict the length of time needed to find a willing purchaser and to close the sale of a Property. In addition, current economic and capital market conditions might make it more difficult for us to sell Properties or might adversely affect the price we receive for Properties that we do sell, as prospective buyers might experience increased costs of debt financing or other difficulties in obtaining debt financing.

Moreover, there are some limitations under federal income tax laws applicable to REITs that limit our ability to sell assets. In addition, because many of our Properties are mortgaged to secure our debts, we may not be able to obtain a release of a lien on a mortgaged Property without the payment of the associated debt and/or a substantial prepayment penalty, or transfer of debt to a buyer, which restricts our ability to dispose of a Property, even though the sale might otherwise be desirable. Furthermore, the number of prospective buyers interested in purchasing shopping centers is limited. Therefore, if we want to sell one or more of our Properties, we may not be able to dispose of it in the desired time period and may receive less consideration than we originally invested in the Property.

Before a Property can be sold, we may be required to make expenditures to correct defects or to make improvements. We cannot assure you that we will have funds available to correct those defects or to make those improvements, and if we cannot do so, we might not be able to sell the Property, or might be required to sell the Property on unfavorable terms. In acquiring a property, we might agree to provisions that materially restrict us from selling that property for a period of time or impose other restrictions, such as limitations on the amount of debt that can be placed or repaid on

7


 

that property. These factors and any others that would impede our ability to respond to adverse changes in the performance of our Properties could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We may elect not to proceed with certain developments, redevelopments or expansion projects once they have been undertaken, resulting in charges that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations for the period in which the charge is taken.

We intend to pursue developments, redevelopments and expansion activities as opportunities arise. In connection with any developments, redevelopments or expansion, we will incur various risks, including the risk that developments, redevelopments or expansion opportunities explored by us may be abandoned for various reasons including, but not limited to, credit disruptions that require the Company to conserve its cash until the capital markets stabilize or alternative credit or funding arrangements can be made. Developments, redevelopments or expansions also include the risk that construction costs of a project may exceed original estimates, possibly making the project unprofitable. Other risks include the risk that we may not be able to refinance construction loans which are generally with full recourse to us, the risk that occupancy rates and rents at a completed project will not meet projections and will be insufficient to make the project profitable, and the risk that we will not be able to obtain Anchor, mortgage lender and property partner approvals for certain expansion activities.

When we elect not to proceed with a development opportunity, the development costs ordinarily are charged against income for the then-current period. Any such charge could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations for the period in which the charge is taken.

Certain of our Properties are subject to ownership interests held by third parties, whose interests may conflict with ours and thereby constrain us from taking actions concerning these Properties which otherwise would be in the best interests of the Company and our stockholders.

We own partial interests in 13 malls, 7 associated centers, 6 community centers, 2 office buildings, a hotel development, a residential development and 4 self-storage facilities. We have interests in 5 malls, 1 associated center, 2 community centers and four self-storage facilities that are all owned by unconsolidated joint ventures and are managed by a property manager that is affiliated with the third-party partner, which receives a fee for its services. The third-party partner of each of these Properties controls the cash flow distributions, although our approval is required for certain major decisions. We have interests in two malls that are owned by consolidated joint ventures and managed by a property manager that is affiliated with the third-party partner, which receives a fee for its services.

Where we serve as managing general partner (or equivalent) of the entities that own our Properties, we may have certain fiduciary responsibilities to the other owners of those entities. In certain cases, the approval or consent of the other owners is required before we may sell, finance, expand or make other significant changes in the operations of such Properties. To the extent such approvals or consents are required, we may experience difficulty in, or may be prevented from, implementing our plans with respect to expansion, development, financing or other similar transactions with respect to such Properties.

With respect to those Properties for which we do not serve as managing general partner (or equivalent), we do not have day-to-day operational control or control over certain major decisions, including leasing and the timing and amount of distributions, which could result in decisions by the managing entity that do not fully reflect our interests. This includes decisions relating to the requirements that we must satisfy in order to maintain our status as a REIT for tax purposes. However, decisions relating to sales, expansion and disposition of all or substantially all of the assets and financings are subject to approval by the Operating Partnership.

Bankruptcy of joint venture partners could impose delays and costs on us with respect to the jointly owned retail Properties.

In addition to the possible effects on our joint ventures of a bankruptcy filing by us, the bankruptcy of one of the other investors in any of our jointly owned shopping centers could materially and adversely affect the relevant Property or Properties. Under the bankruptcy laws, we would be precluded from taking some actions affecting the estate of the other investor without prior approval of the bankruptcy court, which would, in most cases, entail prior notice to other parties and a hearing in the bankruptcy court. At a minimum, the requirement to obtain court approval may delay the actions we would or might want to take. If the relevant joint venture through which we have invested in a Property has incurred recourse obligations, the discharge in bankruptcy of one of the other investors might result in our ultimate liability for a greater portion of those obligations than we would otherwise bear. 

 

8


 

We may be unable to lease space in our properties on favorable terms, or at all.

Our results of operations depend on our ability to continue to lease space in our properties, including vacant space and re-leasing space in properties where leases are expiring, optimizing our tenant mix, or leasing properties on economically favorable terms. Because we have leases expiring annually, we are continually focused on leasing our properties. Similarly, we are pursuing a strategy of replacing expiring short-term leases with long-term leases. For more information on lease expirations see Mall Lease Expirations and Other Property Type Lease Expirations .

There can be no assurance that our leases will be renewed or that vacant space will be re-let at rates equal to or above the current average net effective rental rates or that substantial rent abatements, tenant improvements, early termination rights or below market renewal options will not be offered to attract new tenants or retain existing tenants. If the rental rates decrease, if our existing tenants do not renew their leases or if we do not re-let a significant portion of our available space and space for which leases will expire, our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

We may incur significant costs related to compliance with environmental laws, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and the funds available to us to pay dividends.

Under various federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations, a current or previous owner or operator of real estate may be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of petroleum, certain hazardous or toxic substances on, under or in such real estate. Such laws typically impose such liability without regard to whether the owner or operator knew of, or was responsible for, the presence of such substances. The costs of remediation or removal of such substances may be substantial. The presence of such substances, or the failure to promptly remove or remediate such substances, may adversely affect the owner's or operator's ability to lease or sell such real estate or to borrow using such real estate as collateral. Persons who arrange for the disposal or treatment of hazardous or toxic substances may also be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of such substances at the disposal or treatment facility, regardless of whether such facility is owned or operated by such person. Certain laws also impose requirements on conditions and activities that may affect the environment or the impact of the environment on human health. Failure to comply with such requirements could result in the imposition of monetary penalties (in addition to the costs to achieve compliance) and potential liabilities to third parties. Among other things, certain laws require abatement or removal of friable and certain non-friable asbestos-containing materials in the event of demolition or certain renovations or remodeling. Certain laws regarding asbestos-containing materials require building owners and lessees, among other things, to notify and train certain employees working in areas known or presumed to contain asbestos-containing materials. Certain laws also impose liability for release of asbestos-containing materials into the air and third parties may seek recovery from owners or operators of real properties for personal injury or property damage associated with asbestos-containing materials. In connection with the ownership and operation of properties, we may be potentially liable for all or a portion of such costs or claims.

All of our Properties (but not properties for which we hold an option to purchase but do not yet own) have been subject to Phase I environmental assessments or updates of existing Phase I environmental assessments. Such assessments generally consisted of a visual inspection of the Properties, review of federal and state environmental databases and certain information regarding historic uses of the Property and adjacent areas and the preparation and issuance of written reports. Some of the Properties contain, or contained, underground storage tanks used for storing petroleum products or wastes typically associated with automobile service or other operations conducted at the Properties. Certain Properties contain, or contained, dry-cleaning establishments utilizing solvents. Where believed to be warranted, samplings of building materials or subsurface investigations were undertaken. At certain Properties, where warranted by the conditions, we have developed and implemented an operations and maintenance program that establishes operating procedures with respect to asbestos-containing materials. The cost associated with the development and implementation of such programs was not material. We have also obtained environmental insurance coverage at certain of our Properties.

We believe that our Properties are in compliance in all material respects with all federal, state and local ordinances and regulations regarding the handling, discharge and emission of hazardous or toxic substances. As of December 31, 2019, we have recorded in our consolidated financial statements a liability of $3.0 million related to potential future asbestos abatement activities at our Properties which are not expected to have a material impact on our financial condition or results of operations. We have not been notified by any governmental authority, and are not otherwise aware, of any material noncompliance, liability or claim relating to hazardous or toxic substances in connection with any of our present or former Properties. Therefore, we have not recorded any liability related to hazardous or toxic substances. Nevertheless, it is possible that the environmental assessments available to us do not reveal all potential environmental liabilities. It is also possible that subsequent investigations will identify material contamination, that adverse environmental conditions have arisen subsequent to the performance of the environmental assessments, or that there are material environmental liabilities of which management is unaware. Moreover, no assurances can be given that (i) future laws, ordinances or regulations will

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not impose any material environmental liability or (ii) the current environmental condition of the Properties has not been or will not be affected by tenants and occupants of the Properties, by the condition of properties in the vicinity of the Properties or by third parties unrelated to us, the Operating Partnership or the relevant Property's partnership.

Possible terrorist activity or other acts of violence could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Future terrorist attacks in the United States, and other acts of violence, including terrorism or war, might result in declining consumer confidence and spending, which could harm the demand for goods and services offered by our tenants and the values of our Properties, and might adversely affect an investment in our securities. A decrease in retail demand could make it difficult for us to renew or re-lease our Properties at lease rates equal to or above historical rates and, to the extent our tenants are affected, could adversely affect their ability to continue to meet obligations under their existing leases. Terrorist activities also could directly affect the value of our Properties through damage, destruction or loss. Furthermore, terrorist acts might result in increased volatility in national and international financial markets, which could limit our access to capital or increase our cost of obtaining capital.

We face possible risks associated with climate change.

We cannot determine with certainty whether global warming or cooling is occurring and, if so, at what rate. To the extent climate change causes changes in weather patterns, our properties in certain markets and regions could experience increases in storm intensity and rising sea levels. Over time, these conditions could result in volatile or decreased demand for retail space at certain of our Properties or, in extreme cases, our inability to operate the Properties at all. Climate change may also have indirect effects on our business by increasing the cost of (or making unavailable) insurance on favorable terms and increasing the cost of energy and snow removal at our Properties. Moreover, compliance with new laws or regulations related to climate change, including compliance with "green" building codes, may require us to make improvements to our existing Properties or increase taxes and fees assessed on us or our Properties. At this time, there can be no assurance that climate change will not have a material adverse effect on us.

RISKS RELATED TO OUR BUSINESS AND THE MARKET FOR OUR STOCK

The loss of one or more significant tenants, due to bankruptcies or as a result of consolidations in the retail industry, could adversely affect both the operating revenues and value of our Properties.

We could be adversely affected by the bankruptcy, early termination, sales performance, or closing of tenants and Anchors. Certain of our lease agreements include co-tenancy and/or sales-based kick-out provisions which allow a tenant to pay a reduced rent amount and, in certain instances, terminate the lease, if we fail to maintain certain occupancy levels or retain specified named Anchors, or if the tenant does not achieve certain specified sales targets. If occupancy or tenant sales do not meet or fall below certain thresholds, rents we are entitled to receive from our retail tenants could be reduced. The bankruptcy of a tenant could result in the termination of its lease, which would lower the amount of cash generated by that Property. Replacing tenants with better performing, emerging retailers may take longer than our historical experience of re-tenanting due to their lack of infrastructure and limited experience in opening stores as well as the significant competition for such emerging brands. In addition, if a department store operating as an Anchor at one of our Properties were to cease operating, we may experience difficulty and delay and incur significant expense in replacing the Anchor, re-tenanting, or otherwise re-merchandising the use of the Anchor space. This difficulty could be exacerbated if the Anchor space is owned by a third party and we are not able to acquire the space, if the third party’s plans to lease or redevelop the space do not align with our interests or the third party does not act in a timely manner to lease or redevelop the space. In addition, the Anchor’s closing may lead to reduced customer traffic and lower mall tenant sales. As a result, we may also experience difficulty or delay in leasing spaces in areas adjacent to the vacant Anchor space. The early termination or closing of tenants or Anchors for reasons other than bankruptcy could have a similar impact on the operations of our Properties, although in the case of early terminations we may benefit in the short-term from lease termination income.

Most recently, certain traditional department stores have experienced challenges including limited opportunities for new investment/openings, declining sales, and store closures. Department stores' market share is declining, and their ability to drive traffic has substantially decreased. Despite our Malls traditionally being driven by department store Anchors, in the event of a need for replacement, it has become necessary to consider non-department store Anchors. Certain of these non-department store Anchors may demand higher allowances than a standard mall tenant due to the nature of the services/products they provide.

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Clauses in leases with certain tenants in our properties frequently may include inducements, such as reduced rent and tenant allowance payments, which can reduce our rents and Funds From Operations (“FFO”) , and adversely impact our financial condition and results of operation.

The leases for a number of the tenants in our properties have co-tenancy clauses that allow those tenants to pay reduced rent until occupancy at the respective property regains certain thresholds and/or certain named co-tenants open stores at the respective property. Additionally, some tenants may have rent abatement clauses that delay rent commencement for a prolonged period of time after initial occupancy. The effect of these clauses reduces our rents and FFO while they are applicable. We expect to continue to offer co-tenancy and rent abatement clauses in the future to attract tenants to our properties. As a result, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely impacted.

Additionally, the prevalence and volume of such leases is likely to increase at an unpredictable rate in light of the recent proliferation of bankruptcy filings and closures by retailers occupying “big box”, anchor or other traditionally large spaces which can have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

We may not be able to raise capital through financing activities.

Many of our assets are encumbered by property-level indebtedness; therefore, we may be limited in our ability to raise additional capital through property level or other financings.  In addition, our ability to raise additional capital could be limited to refinancing existing secured mortgages before their maturity date which may result in yield maintenance or other prepayment penalties to the extent that the mortgage is not open for prepayment at par.