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TAMPA, FL-Glimcher Realty Trust of Columbus, OH has plucked a trophy asset from the city’s investment tree by agreeing to buy the 1.06-million-sf, 98%-leased WestShore Plaza from American Freeholds for $153 million.

The price for the 36-year-old property equates to $144.34 per sf, one of the highest per-sf prices paid for a retail asset in the Tampa Bay market, local brokers tell GlobeSt.com.

The deal is scheduled to close by Sept. 1. American Freeholds is a Nevada-based general partnership owned by Grosvenor USA of San Francisco, a division of London-based Grosvenor Holdings.

General Growth Properties Inc. of Chicago manages the center. Glimcher’s prepared statement didn’t indicate whether General Growth would continue as manager or whether Glimcher will be retaining a new manager for enclosed regional mall near Tampa International Airport.

Glimcher president Michael P. Glimcher calls the property “a premier asset.” He says the acquisition will be “consistent with our strategy of acquiring mall assets in major markets and where we have an existing presence.”

WestShore Plaza is anchored by Burdine’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears, JC Penney, a 14-screen AMC Theater and 96 other retail tenants. The three restaurants at the mall are Maggiano’s Little Italy, Palm and PF Changs. The shopping center’s 1.06 million sf is second in size only to the 1.22 million-sf International Plaza, according to Trammell Crow Co. research data.

The acquisition comes at a challenging financial period for Glimcher. The REIT reported a second-quarter net income loss of $3.92 million, or a loss of 11 cents per share, compared to a positive net income of $3.14 million, or nine cents per share, in second quarter 2002.

Funds from operations totaled $9.8 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, for the quarter versus $20.1 million, or 59 cents per share, a year ago. For the six-month period, the REIT posted FFO of $31 million, or 82 cents per share, compared to $40 million, or $1.18 per diluted share, in second quarter 2002.

Revenue for the quarter ended June 30 increased 16% to $70.8 million from $61 million a year ago.

“Although the quarter was a difficult one for us, we have addressed the causes and are enhancing processes and making changes in personnel and procedures to help prevent a recurrence of these issues,” Michael Glimcher says in a separately prepared statement. His father, Herbert Glimcher, chairs the Ohio company.

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