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TUKWILA, WA-It is the anchor of Tukwila, the largest retail market in Puget Sound. And, as announced late last week, Southcenter Mall is being grouped with eight other malls in a $756-million acquisition by Westfield America Trust from Richard E. Jacobs Group.

In 1999, the Jacobs Group, a privately-held company headquartered in Cleveland, had gone public with its plans to dispose of the majority of its real estate holdings in the U.S. as part of estate planning for CEO and chairman, Richard E. Jacobs.

With 39 malls already under its belt, Westfield, an Australia-based company, is well on its way to becoming a major player in the U.S. shopping-center industry. Southcenter Mall will become its second property in the State of Washington–its first being the 883,000-sf, 150-store Westfield Shoppingtown in Vancouver, which is anchored by J.C. Penney, Meier & Frank, Sears, Mervyn’s and Nordstrom’s.

Southcenter, spread across a 90-acre site, contains 1.3 million sf of leasable retail space. At last count, it had 157 stores–anchored by department stores, The Bon Marche, J.C. Penney, Mervyn’s, Nordstrom and Sears. Its parking spaces number 7,132, and renovations have made in 1989, 1992 and 1996.

With more than 8.5 million sf, the Power/Regional Center of Tukwila contains the largest chunk of retail space in Puget Sound—totaling 32.3 million sf at mid-year according to a report of CB Richard Ellis. Southcenter is not the first, but the largest, retail property in the area to change ownership in the last twelve months.

According to Colliers, 2001 has been an “average” year in terms of retail transactions—with the majority tending toward freestanding buildings and smaller properties. There have been only two other sales of Tukwila properties since the end of last year.

In December 2000, MBK Northwest of Portland sold a group of Tukwila retail properties at 180th and Southcenter Parkway—which lies at the periphery of its 625,000-sf Parkway Supercenter. Miller Lake Ranches LLC of Bozeman, Mont. paid $9.68 million for the collection, at a cap rate of 9.7%. According to a report from Colliers International, a total of 54,869 sf of retail space exchanged hands in the transaction at $156/sf. Included were a Regal Cinemas theater, The Shane Co. and a Newport Bay restaurant.

In March, an 83,559-sf center anchored by Bed, Bath & Beyond fetched $13.2 million—or $157/sf–for Lakha Southcenter Properties LLC of Bothell. Acquired by Regency Centers Corp. of Jacksonville, Fla., the property at 240 Andover Park W. lies adjacent to the Southcenter Mall and went at a cap rate of 9%.

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