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SEATTLE-More stores are opening and closing at the region’s largest mall these days, and Glimcher Realty Trust now has a bigger piece of the action.

In late July, the Columbus, Ohio-based retail REIT announced this week, it bought out some of its joint venture partners, paying $32.25 million for another 34.85% of the 933,000-sf mall to give it a 72.69% share. Glimcher and partners acquired the mall in 1997–when vacancies were 30%–for $103 million in debt and equity.

Which partners were bought out was not made clear and not otherwise immediately available. When the original acquisition took place in late 1997, it was characterized as a recapitalization of ownership that consisted of $62.5 million in new debt and $40.4 million in new equity. The owners of the mall at the time of the transaction–Hapsmith Development Corp. of Beverly Hills, Calif. and Rosche Capital Corp. of Corpus Christi, Texas–contributed interests to the partnership and retained an interest.

By December 2000, Glimcher announced it was successfully turning the mall around, having increased revenues by 4% to 6% annually and having lowered the vacancy rate to 13%. Now, a source tells GlobeSt.com, vacancy rates have further declined, “but there are more stores opening than closing,” including Nautica, which is scheduled to open a 6,000-sf store at the mall today (Friday, Aug. 9).

As well, Pacific Sunwear opened a 3,900-sf store last month and later this month Journey’s, a shoe store, will open a 2,500-sf store, and Group USA, a women’s formalwear shop, will expand its presence from 5,000 sf to 9,600 sf. Average in-place rents in the 278,000-sf of occupied shop space are reportedly about $24 per sf.

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