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TLANTA-The 16-year-old, 80%-leased, 629,000-sf Wiregrass Commons Mall in Dothan, AL is under new ownership today after Crown American Realty Trust of Johnstown, PA bought the asset and 60 adjoining acres from Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. for $40.4 million.

One of the buying pluses for the equity REIT was the mall’s location and its presence as the only enclosed regional mall in the southeastern corner of Alabama, adjacent to Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, Crown chairman/CEO/president Mark E. Pasquerilla says in a prepared statement.

Dothan calls itself the Peanut Capital of the World for the peanut industry in its area.

Anchored by Dillard’s, Parisian, JCPenney and McRae’s, the mall’s tenants are averaging $260 per sf in store sales. Pasquerilla projects the property’s annual net operating income will exceed $4.2 million. Anchor tenants own 403,000 sf in the mall.

“We believe the mall has excellent growth potential from re-tenanting and occupancy gains, and from potential future development of the vacant land that was part of the acquisition,” Pasquerilla says.

Crown funded the acquisition with a $30 million floating rate mortgage loan from an undisclosed lender. The balance was funded from cash and from the company’s line of credit.

The REIT’s portfolio comprises 27 regional malls with 17 million sf of gross leasable area in 10 states.

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