NEW YORK CITY-The Blackstone Group is acquiring a stake in 40 US shopping centers from UBS AG in a deal valued at $1.1 billion, Bloomberg reported Thursday morning. Separately, Kimco Realty Corp.’s vice chairman, president and CEO, David Henry, said in a fourth-quarter conference call Wednesday that his company would increase its stake in the portfolio from 18% to 33%.
GlobeSt.com’s calls to Blackstone and UBS for comment were not immediately returned Thursday morning. An industry source familiar with the deal confirmed the Bloomberg report.
Included in the portfolio are: 280 Metro Center, Chico East Plaza, Crocker Ranch, Gateway at Donner Pass, Lincoln Hills Town Center and Rancho Penasquitos Towne Center in California; Addison Center, Bonita Grande Crossings, Centre of Merritt, Coral Pointe Shopping Center, Corsica Square Shopping Center, Duval Station, Miller West Plaza, Riverside Landing and Shops at Santa Barbara in Florida;
Riverwalk Marketplace in Duluth, GA; Shops at Killdeer in Killdeer, IL; Columbia Crossing, Dorsey’s Search Village Center, Harpers Choice, Hickory Ridge and Rolling Road Plaza in Maryland; Center at Hobbs Brook in Sturbridge, MA; Galena Junction, McQueen Crossings, Redfield Promenade and Sparks Mercantile in Nevada;
Airport Plaza in Farmingdale, NY and Woodbury Centre in Harriman, NY; Carlisle Marketplace, Holiday Center and Horsham Point in Pennsylvania; Copperwood Village, Temple Towne Center and the Centre at Copperfield in Texas; Dulles Town Crossing, Stafford Marketplace and Sudley Towne Plaza in Virginia; and Franklin Park Commons in Spokane, WA, according to the Kimco website.
The portfolio encompasses 5.7 million square feet and was 96.1% leased as of Dec. 31, 2012. Blackstone has increased its retail holdings, both domestic and foreign, in recent years. In 2011, it bought Centro Properties Group‘s US portfolio in a $9-billion deal and renamed it Brixmor Property Group. Last year, it bought a portfolio of 43 US centers from Israel-based Elbit Imaging Ltd. in a $1.43-billion joint venture with DDR.
During a December 2012 presentation at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ New York National Conference, Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s global head of real estate, offered some insights as to why. He cited the basis his firm could go in on, the dearth of new retail development and the challenges that shopping center owners face in obtaining debt.