NEW YORK — The reshuffling of retail real estate keeps going.
On Tuesday, The Mills Corp. said it will spend $1.03 billion for a 50 percent stake in nine shopping centers, including The Falls in Miami.
Also, Thor Equities said it will buy two Florida centers for $120 million, including Miami’s CocoWalk. The deal follows Thor’s acquisition of 36 South State Street in Chicago’s Loop, as part of a joint venture, about two weeks ago.
In June, The Simon Property Group Inc. bought Chelsea Property Group Inc. in a dramatic $4.8 billion merger, combining the biggest U.S. mall developer with the largest outlet developer. And General Growth, the nation’s second-larger mall developer, in April said it will spend $430.8 million to buy the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge and a 50 percent ownership interest in Riverchase Galleria in Birmingham, Ala., plus another $766 million to buy the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
The flurry of deals this year underscores just how hungry developers are to buy up property and build real estate empires, with interest rates being low and little room left to build new malls in attractive demographic areas. Developers are diversifying their portfolios and aren’t even a tad discouraged by the premium prices many retail properties now command. Developers see potential for remerchandising malls with new and different kinds of tenants and for raising productivity levels at mature centers.
The Arlington, Va.-based Mills, best known for developing huge hybrid centers combining retail and entertainment components, said the nine regional malls total 9.6 million square feet of gross leasable area and yielded tenant sales of $2.1 billion last year. The 50 percent stake was purchased from General Motors Asset Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors managing more than $148 billion in assets.
The Mills package includes several large and well-known centers, in addition to The Falls. They are: Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton, Calif.; Meadowood in Reno, Nev.; The Mall at Tuttle Crossing and Columbus City Center, both in Columbus, Ohio; Lakeforest Mallin in Gaithersburg, Md.; Marley Station in Anne Arundel County, Md.; Hilltop Mall in Contra Costa County, Calif., and Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor, Mich. Most of these properties exceed 1 million square feet.
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