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HOUSTON-Another REIT has made a big move in Houston. Glimcher Realty Trust of Columbus, OH, has bought out joint venture partner Fifth Avenue LLC’s 80% ownership of Northwest and Almeda Malls for $5.5 million cash and assumption of a $34.9-million mortgage.

The loan, with an 8.5% interest rate, will mature in 2007.

Glimcher acquired 20% interest as well as the management assignment in the malls in March 1998 with a Japanese joint venture partner. Fifth Avenue LLC, which is comprised of Ellen Glimcher, the daughter of Herbert Glimcher, the chairman of the REIT’s board of trustees and CEO, and the sister of Michael P. Glimcher, the REIT’s president, acquired 80% interest from the Japanese investor two years ago.

Glimcher Realty has been bent on moving away from joint venture partnerships over the last few years, William G. Cornely, executive vice president and chief operating officer tells GlobeSt.com. It was always the REIT’s intention to buy out the partners at these two malls as well as all other joint venture partnerships, he adds.

Cornely says the REIT has only three malls left in its portfolio left to buyout. These properties are located in Columbus, OH; Harrisburg, PA; and Charlotte, NC. Glimcher’s total portfolio consists of 83 properties in 24 states totaling 28 million sf.

Cornely says the Almeda and Northwest Malls are successful. Almeda Mall is located at 555 Almeda Mall Rd. and was 97.7% leased as of Sept. 30, Glimcher confirms. The mall has 797,000 sf and is anchored by Foley’s, JC Penny, Old Navy and Palais Royal.

The 794,000-sf Northwest Mall at 9800 Hempstead Hwy. is 68.9% occupied. Cornely says the vacancy rate is due primarily to JC Penney vacating an anchor spot approximately 18 months ago. Cornely says JC Penney owned its spot and has sold it to a third party. Among the smaller shops included in the mall there is a 93.6% occupancy, Cornely notes. Anchor tenants at the mall currently include Foley’s, Office Max, Old Navy and Palais Royal.

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