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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA-Having committed a whopping $256.5 million, General Growth Properties has landed itself a big fish–the 1.3 million-sf Lynnhaven Mall, one of the largest shopping centers to grace the East Coast. The Chicago-headquartered shopping mall REIT took the lucrative property–it is currently grossing sales at $410 per-sf at 91% occupancy–off the hands of the previous owner, an unnamed institutional concern. General Growth paid for the property with cash, a $180 million non-recourse mortgage loan, and other avenues of existing credit. The company plans to refinance $317 million in debt, thereby yielding $86 million in proceeds.

Located just minutes from the Virginia Beach oceanfront off I-264, Lynnhaven Mall is easily accessible from a bevy of surrounding and distant communities. The shopping center boasts six anchors–including Dillard’s, Hecht’s, JCPenney and Lord & Taylor–as well as 390,000 sf of specialty retail space, and about a dozen or so eateries. While the 22-year-old property underwent renovations in 1991 and 1996, more changes are in store with the addition of a new 18-screen AMC movie theate, and a 28,000-sf space to accommodate a new Barnes and Noble Bookseller. Recent changes include a new 180,000-sf Dillard’s store, a move that has left the store’s former space open for the 123,000-sf movie theater that is scheduled to pull back the curtains on its screens this November.

“With the acquisition of Lynnhaven Mall, General Growth enters and will now create value in a robust, growing market with strong local and tourist traffic,” says General Growth CEO John Bucksbaum. “We will enhance this well positioned property with our leasing and redevelopment expertise and we will maximize opportunities to ensure that the center offers the right retail mix and a strong customer experience.”

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