ARLINGTON, VA-Retail center and entertainment destination REIT The Mills Corp. has negotiated a big addition to its portfolio with the pending acquisition of six shopping mall properties in six different states totaling approximately 5.3 million sf of retail space. Mills has committed to the massive deal, consisting of two separate transactions, which carries a total price tag of $621 million. Both transactions are on schedule to close by the end of next month.

Toronto-headquartered Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. will sell Mills’ complete interest in five of its shopping centers including Ft. Lauderdale’s Broward Mall; Dover, DE’s Dover Mall and Dover Commons; White Plains, NY’s Galleria at White Plains; Jackson, MS’s Northpark Mall; and the Esplanade in New Orleans. The second transaction involves Hackensack, NJ’s Riverside Square and its unnamed seller. Located just eight miles outside of New York City, the Bergen County mall is a two-story enclosed shopping destination with upscale offerings such as Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tiffany & Co. The average occupancy level among the six properties is just over 91%. A total of 100 acres of undeveloped land neighboring the properties are also part of the package.

“All six of the soon-to-be acquired malls provide the company with the opportunity to employ this Mills vision,” Mills chairman and CEO Laurence C. Siegel says. “All are high- quality, well-located, productive assets that we can improve utilizing our special brand of merchandising. And they are synergistic, both in terms of location, tenant mix, and redevelopment opportunities, to our current domestic and European programs.” During Mills’ third-quarter earnings conference call last month, Siegel expounded on the company’s status and goals. “We are positioned to make our numbers for 2002 and we see significant improvements next year in occupancy and NOI as we reap the fruits of our strategies to improve our tenant mix at the operating centers, continue to bring our domestic and foreign development properties online, and broaden our asset base in retail portfolio through an aggressive acquisition and redevelopment program,” he said. “So all in all, good results, with much better to come next year.”

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