ROSELAND, NJ-Chelsea GCA Realty, a self-managed REIT based here, has amassed a portfolio of 27 manufacturers outlet shopping centers totaling 8.1 million sf of GLA in 15 states and Japan. Those are the new totals after the company teamed up with Fortress Investment Group to bag a package of four properties totaling 1.6 million sf of GLA from Prime Retail Inc. Merrill Lynch advised Chelsea on the deal.

The latest additions to the company’s holdings are as far-flung as its existing stable of properties. They include the 578,000-sf Prime Outlets at Gilroy, Gilroy, CA (near San Jose); the 491,000-sf Prime Outlets at Michigan City, IN; the 394,000-sf Prime Outlets at Waterloo, NY; and the 131,000-sf Prime Outlets at Kittery, ME. Chelsea, which holds a 49% interest in the four, will be the management, leasing and marketing agent for them.

“These properties are in markets that we have not operated in,” according to David Bloom, chairman/CEO of Chelsea. “It is our intention to begin to reposition them as soon as possible under the Premium Outlet Centers banner.”

“What was attractive about them,” he continues, “is that based on the purchase price and the relatively long-term debt financing, the four properties should be meaningfully accretive to our funds from operations per share even before we add value through our repositioning program.”

Bloom pegs the purchase price at $240 million, and the deal includes the assumption of an estimated $174 million in non-recourse mortgage debt maturing in 2008 and bearing a fixed annual interest rate of 6.99%.

Chelsea won’t initially have too much worrying to do about renting the space–the four properties combined are said to be 99% leased. Some tenant casualties can be expected because of Chelsea’s planned repositioning, but the new owners will have a solid portfolio-wide tenant roster to work with in any case.

Indeed, tenants in the four properties have average sales of $335 per sf. That’s not far off the average of the properties already in Chelsea’s portfolio, which was about $377 per sf at the end of 1999. That average applied to the 8.1 million-sf total adds up to something on the order of $3 billion in retail sales annually.

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