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PHILADELPHIA-Locally based Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust completes its acquisition of four area shopping centers from Columbia, MD-based Rouse Co. This is the larger portion of a six-property Rouse portfolio PREIT plans to acquire. It expects to close on the additional two properties this quarter.

Aggregate purchase price of the four centers, which total 3.6 million sf, is $469 million. The properties are: The Gallery at Market East in Center City; Exton Square Mall in Exton, PA; Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, NJ; and Moorestown Mall in Moorestown, NJ.

PREIT paid about $157 million in cash and assumed $277 million in non-recourse mortgage debt. The additional funding includes $35 million in operating partnership units issued to select partners of New Castle Associates. Of that amount, $17.8 million is expected to be issued in second-quarter 2004.

Ronald Rubin, chairman and CEO of PREIT, and George Rubin, a PREIT trustee and president of its management subsidiaries, are among the partners in New Castle Associates. PREIT acquired 49% of the partnership interests in New Castle for about $31 million, increasing its total share of New Castle to 73%. Substantially all $31 million was applied to the purchase price of Cherry Hill Mall and costs of the transaction. PREIT plans to buy the remaining equity of New Castle over the next 12 months.

The four Rouse acquisitions increase PREIT’s retail portfolio by 30%. It now includes 26 properties totaling 15.4 million sf.

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