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TUKWILA, WA-The Australia-based Westfield America says it intends to buy property adjacent to Westfield Shoppingtown Southcenter and make the state’s largest mall, even bigger.

Westfield, which bought Southcenter late last year, have entered into an agreement to buy the Red Lion Hotel Southcenter, a six-acre parcel adjacent to the mall. Hilton Hotels Corp, which owns the Red Lion, will close the 198-room facility in December. The sale is expected to be complete by January.

The purchase price for the hotel is valued at $2.8 million. Company officials did not elaborate on expansion specifics, but did say that enlarging the retail facility is definitely their intent.

“When Westfield acquired Southcenter earlier this year, we had already recognized its potential for growth,” says David Doll, Westfield’s senior executive vice president of development. “We are currently in the process of developing expansion plans and anticipate submitting our application for redevelopment with the city of Tukwila during the first quarter of 2003.”

Southcenter marked Westfield’s third property in the state of Washington. It’s first was 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. It also owns the former Capital Mall of Olympia.

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. Westfield acquired Southcenter earlier this year for $126.1 million, according to the company’s mid-year report, and since has spent another $300,000 on the facility.

Westfield, one of the largest property trusts listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, now owns 61 shopping centers throughout the country. As part of its branding campaign, they are all called the same thing.

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