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BRNO, CZECH REPUBLIC-A joint venture of GE Real Estate and Heitman Central Europe Property Partners II has acquired an 80% stake in four Czech shopping centers from Denmark-based TK Development, which will manage the assets.

The centers are located in the Czech cities of Hradec Kralove, Ostrava, Brno and Olomouc. Each of the four centers is anchored by a hypermarket owned and occupied by Carrefour. The combined value of the centers, which total 1.17 million sf, is $103 million.

GE Real Estate is a business unit of Stamford, CT-based GE Commercial Finance that has current investments in Europe of about $5.8 billion in capital. Heitman is one of the largest providers of institutional real estate investment services. HCEPP II, a fund of Heitman International, acquires and develops properties in Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, the Baltic’s, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.

The Czech portfolio is major purchase for HCEPP II in the Czech Republic, says Gordon Black, managing director of Heitman International and member of the HCEPP II board of managers. “The Czech Republic is still under shopped in terms of EU standards with approximately half the average amount of retail space per capita,” says Black. “We see strong occupational demand driving delivery to the 10 million consumers in the country.”

Kendall Young managing director for GE Real Estate in Central Europe, says the Czech properties will complement its existing portfolio in Poland. “We see the retail property sector benefiting from the expected continued growth in individual income levels as the Central European economies continue to converge within Western Europe,” he says. “Additionally, over time, we anticipate seeing more liquidity and lower yields within the retail property sector similar to what has been experienced within the office property sector in Central Europe.”

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