SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The company that owns and operates the American Eagle retail chain is suing the company that owned the Westfield SF Center on Market Street for letting “the mall deteriorate into disarray,” according to a filing in the San Francisco Superior Court. In the filing which was made Monday, AE Retail West, LLC, which operates American Eagle, stated that “in exchange for millions of dollars in rent, Westfield obligated itself to maintain the common areas of the mall and promised American Eagle would have quiet enjoyment of the store for the duration of the lease.”
But, according to court filings, “Westfield neglected its obligations, allowing the mall to become a lightning rod for, in Westfield’s words, ‘rampant criminal activity.'”
American Eagle accuses the mall owner of investing more than $2 billion in upgrades and maintaining other malls in the region, while neglecting Westfield. That neglect “came to a head” in June, AE said, when Westfield announced it would be abandoning the mall, “leaving tenants like American Eagle, residents of San Francisco, and investors in San Francisco real estate to clean up Westfield’s mess.”
While American Eagle “believed it was leasing a prime retail space,” according to lawsuit, Westfield left the store’s employees to “suffer and respond to gun violence, physical assaults, burglaries, and robberies.”
“This is not the store American Eagle paid millions of dollars for, or the store that Westfield promised,” the suit states.
American Eagle stated it closed the Market Street entrance to its store to protect its staff, hired additional security officers, installed security window film, and upgraded its CCTV system.
“Despite its efforts, American Eagle has not been able to overcome the mall’s conditions,” the filing states. “Westfield’s failure to maintain the Common Areas at the mall has poisoned public opinion — patrons no longer feel safe because of Westfield’s inaction.”
In the suit, which was first reported in the San Francisco Business Times, American Eagle stated it is suing for “compensatory monetary damages in an amount to be proven at trial.”
KRON4 has reached out to Westfield and American Eagle for statements. We received the following statement from Westfield:
“Westfield is declining to comment because we have not been served the lawsuit.”
We have yet to hear back from American Eagle.