(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of RealEstate Florida.)

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MIAMI-In its first acquisition, a joint venture between locallybased Equity One Inc. and an affiliate of New York City-based DRAAdvisors LLC has purchased a three-property value-add package inSouth Florida. The $53-million deal includes shopping centers inPlantation and Margate and a three-building office asset in BocaRaton.

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The properties were encumbered by a $38.9-million loan, whichthe buyer assumed, says John Bell, managing director of DTZRockwood's Miami office, who represented the seller in thetransaction. The seller, Los Angeles-based Gehr Development, soldthe assets to focus on properties that are closer to home and lessmanagement intensive, Bell tells GlobeSt.com, adding that all threeproperties have occupancy challenges.

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Equity One announced its joint venture with an affiliate of DRAin April with the intent of investing in value-add opportunities.Both parties will continue to acquire assets throughout the US,predominantly retail property, according to Matthew Shore, directorof acquisitions with DRA Advisors, which holds 80% of the JV. "Weidentified this portfolio of properties that we deemed to have goodvalue-add components with strong demographics in infill locationsand at significantly below replacement costs," Shore says of thedeal.

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The portfolio includes Plantation Marketplace, a 230,330-sfretail center in Plantation anchored by Winn-Dixie and CVS; PennDutch Plaza, a 155,628-sf center located in Margate anchored byPenn Dutch Food Center; and 1900/2000 Offices, a three-building116,777-sf office complex primarily occupied by professionalservices tenants, including attorneys, accountants and staffingfirms, according to Equity One.

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"The joint venture has a lot of firepower, creating optimism forall three of these assets moving forward," says Bell. "Equity Oneis one of the dominant retail operators in the region, and theirfocus and expertise on both of the shopping centers should be ableto turn them around relatively quickly as opposed to a privateownership group that's out of the market." He says DRA's experiencewith managing turning around value-add office buildings will mostcertainly benefit the Boca Raton property.

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