Simon Property plans strip mall business spinoff

Mall operator Simon Property Group Inc. is keeping shopping centers in Kenner and Lake Charles as it spins off a group of other strip malls and smaller enclosed malls so it can focus on bigger malls and premium outlets.

Simon, which owns or has an interest in 325 retail properties in North America and Asia, is holding on to The Esplanade in Kenner and Prien Lake Mall in Lake Charles.

Simon said the new, publicly traded real estate investment trust is expected to own or have an interest in 54 strip malls and 44 smaller enclosed malls from the spinoff. Its portfolio will total 53 million square feet in 23 states.

Simon President and Chief Operating Officer Richard Sokolov will become chairman of the new company, and Simon Chairman and CEO David Simon will serve on its board of directors. Simon Property shareholders and limited partners get stakes in the new company.