The centers, which the buyers acquired from privately heldM&H Realty Partners of San Francisco, will be owned by a newlyformed private real estate investment trust called Centro WattAmerican REIT.

The acquisition represents Watt's first transaction through RealEstate Advisory Group, says Jim Maginn, CEO of locally based WattCommercial Properties. This is Centro's first investment in the US,Maginn says, adding that it is likely just the first step in aCentro expansion into North America.

The 14 properties represent one of the largest retail portfolioacquisitions in California in recent years. The portfolio comprisessix neighborhood centers, six community centers and two powercenters throughout the state. Watt and Centro have formed a jointventure that is responsible for providing real estate services bothto their jointly owned portfolio and to other retail propertiesthat they may jointly develop or acquire in the future. WattManagement Co. will provide property management, leasing and assetmanagement for the venture.

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