PARIS-French REIT/SIIC Gecina has increased its stake in thecompany owning the proposed Beaugrenelle shopping center projecthere, but said the investment is a one-off move rather than thestart of a shift into retail assets. Gecina bought a further 25% inSCI Beaugrenelle from SCI Pont de Grenelle, taking its stake in thecompany to 75%.

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The cost of the operation was $75 million after factoring inpartial repayment of an advance granted by SCI Pont de Grenelle toSCI Beaugrenelle. But the final amount may be higher depending onthe valuation recorded after delivery.

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“By taking the lead on this exceptional project, the group isseizing a unique opportunity to develop a shopping centre at theheart of Paris, offering significant value creation potential andprofitability of over 8%. Beaugrenelle does not however representthe starting point for growth in shopping centers. Gecina’sstrategy remains firmly focused on the office, residential andhealthcare business lines,” said CEO Christophe Clamageran.

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Gecina’s $14.7 billion portfolio mainly consists of office andresidential buildings in Paris and the region, student residences,logistics platforms, healthcare and hotels. But it has beeninvolved in Beaugrenelle from the outset. The centre will have aGLA of almost 484,000 square feet in the 15th arrondissement ofParis. Total investment will be $520 million. The mall is due to bedelivered during the second half of 2013 following a recentadministrative court ruling in favour of SCI Beaugrenelle overclaims made relating to the building permits.

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AllanSaunderson is a managing editor of Property InvestorEurope and a contributor to GlobeSt.com.

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