Retailers seize on pandemic fallout to become property owners

Struggling shopping malls are finding an unexpected boost from bargain-hunting retail operators.

Such was the case in Stamford, Conn., where the Stamford Town Center mall lost popular tenants like H&M, Apple Inc. and Talbots to a competing shopping center that opened last year only 8 miles away.

In October, home-furnishing company Safavieh purchased Town Center mall.

Safavieh plans to open a home-design center and relocate its nearby home furnishings store to the mall, said Arash Yaraghi, whose family runs the Port Washington, N.Y.-based company.

But, he added, “price is always the deciding factor.” Safavieh paid $20 million for a property that was appraised at $64 million last year, according to a Stamford government website.

CORONAVIRUS LEAVES RETAILERS STRUGGLING TO PAY RENT

The coronavirus

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BP Selling Headquarters Due to Oil Fallout

A security guard at the entrance to BP’s London headquarters

A security guard at the entrance to BP’s London headquarters
Photo: Christopher Furlong (Getty Images)

When you fall on hard times, you sometimes have to downsize. So it is with BP, which is in talks to sell its London headquarters because of massive financial losses. Multinational oil companies: They’re just like us.

The company’s office is located in what the Wall Street Journal calls the “tony Mayfair section” of London and the sale is being finalized for roughly $328 million. That’ll be a nice windfall for the company that saw record multibillion-dollar losses to start the year. It’s also nearly quadruple the amount of money BP earned last quarter after oil recovered somewhat.

Hong Kong-based investment company Lifestyle International Holdings is the reported buyer for the space that includes a beautiful glass-topped atrium and sweeping staircases curving out over it. It’s pretty sweet, so

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A fallout shelter might have caused you to fall out with your neighbors

Back during the Cold War, when it did not seem at all far-fetched that a Soviet nuclear bomb might ruin your day, Glenn Easton’s mother-in-law looked into building a fallout shelter in her backyard.

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“The dealbreaker was when the salesman told her she’d have to buy a gun to keep neighbors from forcing themselves into her shelter in the event of a bomb,” wrote Glenn, of Chevy Chase, Md. “She decided she’d take her chances without a shelter.”

I can safely report that Glenn’s mother-in-law was not killed by an atomic bomb.

[Bunker mentality: Cold War-era fallout shelters are still a feature in some homes]

Nor was Phyllis Naylor of Gaithersburg, Md. After buying a house in Montgomery County in 1967, she and her husband fretted over whether to build a shelter. Newspapers at the time suggested that if bombs were coming, people should head to the Paw

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Cold War-era fallout shelters are still a feature in some homes

Frankly, a bunker has sounded pretty appealing lately. A cozy, underground space to wait out the pandemic/election/murder hornets? Count me in!

Of course, many of these spaces — Cold War-era fallout shelters — are not so much cozy as creepy. Last week I asked readers to share their fallout shelter stories.

Dan and Marybeth Kaplan live in Kensington, Md., in a house they were told was built during the Cuban missile crisis by a bigwig in the Atomic Energy Commission.

“When we first toured the house, it was billed as their in-law suite,” Dan wrote. “A few steps down in the back of our workroom lead to a 20-foot hallway, at the end of which, and on the other side of a heavy iron ship door, sits a 9-by-12 room complete with air vents, a hand-crank water pump and an escape hatch that leads to a tunnel to the

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