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COLUMBUS, GA-General Growth Properties of Chicago, the second largest shopping center owner/developer in the United States, has added the 28-year-old, 820,000-sf Peachtree Mall in Columbus, GA to its portfolio of 159 regional retail centers in 39 states.

The Illinois-based REIT paid Jim Wilson Associates Inc. of Montgomery, AL $87.6 million or $106.82 per sf for the 92% leased property near the Fort Benning, GA military base, 100 miles south of Downtown Atlanta. Dillards, Parisian, JCPenney and Rich’s-Macy’s anchor the 1975-built center which was renovated and expanded in 1985 and 1993.

The property includes an eight-screen Carmike theater and a 12,600-sf convenience center. Inline specialty retail space comprises about 265,000 sf.

Peachtree Mall is posting sales of about $340 per sf, General Growth CEO John Bucksbaum says in a prepared statement. “Peachtree Mall is the dominant retail destination within a 100-mile trade area, located south of Atlanta,” he says. The trade area is bolstered by the 30,000 personnel at Fort Benning and a permanent Columbus resident population of 622,629, according to the Web site of Jim Wilson Associates. The average family household income is $53,411. Households total 227,233.

Bucksbaum says the acquisition price was funded with a five-year, $53 million mortgage loan from an undisclosed lender. The loan’s interest rate is computed at the London Interbank Overnight Rate, plus 85 basis points, and $32.6 million from a combination of cash on hand plus available credit.

Bucksbaum says the property is expected to generate about $7.9 million of net operating income over the next 12 months. Peachtree Mall is the seventh shopping center General Growth either owns or manages in Georgia. Bucksbaum calls the acquisition “a valuable addition to our existing portfolio.”

The REIT’s portfolio totals 140 million sf of retail rented to 16,000 tenants nationally.

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