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MIAMI-Taubman Centers Inc., based in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which had owned half of the 1.3-million-sf Dolphin Mall here, has acquired the remaining 50% interest from Hollywood, FL-based Swerdlow Real Estate Group. The deal is worth $96.8 million. This price, which involved no cash, includes $94.5 million in debt assumed by Taubman Centers and $2.3 million in six acres of peripheral property to Swerdlow. The deal ends a legal dispute that had been brewing between the two companies since this summer.

In April 2001, Taubman’s $10-million investment in Swerdlow Real Estate Group was converted into a loan. On December 31, 2001, the note became delinquent, and in July, Taubman filed suit to recover funds due. This August, Swerdlow sued Taubman, alleging a breach of the partnership and seeking more than $40 million in damages. Under the newly forged deal, the companies agreed to drop their suits, and Swerdlow agreed to pay off the $10 million principal balance of the note.

Robert S. Taubman, chairman, president and CEO of Taubman Centers, said in a Monday announcement that the company strongly believes in the mall’s long-term potential and anticipates “attractive returns from the incremental investment to be made.”

The Dolphin Mall is at the Dolphin Expressway, or State Road 836, and Florida’s Turnpike, four miles west of Miami International Airport. The property, which is approximately 80%-leased, has more than 200 outlet stores, restaurants and entertainment venues. Major tenants include Burlington Coat Factory, Old Navy, Cobb Theatres, Dave & Busters, Group USA, Off 5th Saks and Oshman’s Supersports. In addition, Neiman Marcus Last Call recently announced plans to open there next June.

Both companies developed the mall, which opened in early spring 2001. Taubman Centers owns or manages 30 shopping centers in 13 states. Company shares closed at 13.57 Monday.

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