JOSEPH PISANI Associated Press
Owners of East Towne and West Towne shopping malls in Madison filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic causing their tenants to close permanently or not to pay rent. .
The Chattanooga owned and operated shopping malls, Tennessee-based CBL, will remain open as bankruptcy protection continues.
The East Towne and West Towne malls closed in March for almost two months following Governor Tony Evers’ house orders, shutting down unnecessary businesses as the coronavirus spread in Wisconsin. Statewide restrictions were eased in May and were eventually removed by the State Supreme Court, but the Dane County health department has placed capacity restrictions on businesses including including retailers.
CBL, which operates 107 malls across the country, says more than 30 of its tenants have filed for bankruptcy protection this year and closed stores, including clothing retailers. Ascena women, there are 100 Ann Taylor, LOFT and other stores in the CBL malls.
Even before the virus came, shopping malls were struggling to attract shoppers who are increasingly shopping online or elsewhere. But the pandemic forced many of them to be temporarily shut down for months. Mall tenants, who the operator rely on to pay rent, are also stressed. Some are bankrupt and are closing stores, such as the JC Penney department store chain.