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JOLIET, IL-Westfield America Trust has agreed to pay $92.5 million for the Louis Joliet Mall, which it plans to rename Westfield Shoppingtown Louis Joliet following an expected closing before the end of 2003. The Australian shopping center owner says it is buying the 919,800-sf mall from Blackstone Group at an 8.1% yield.

The acquisition will become the seventh Westfield Shoppingtown in the Chicago area market—Fox Valley in Aurora, North Bridge in Chicago, Old Orchard in Skokie, Hawthorn in Vernon Hills and Southlake in Hobart, IN.

Marshall Field’s, Carson Pirie Scott, JCPenney and Sears are the anchors of the mall, which was built in 1978 and underwent a renovation in 1995.

While total sales at Louis Joliet Mall averaged $186 psf last year, Westfield America Trust officials note the figure jumps to $326 psf when the results of the 102 specialty stores are considered alone.

Westfield America Trust managing director Peter Lowy points to a projected 17% growth in the area’s population to 511,000 as a motivation.

“With the market’s explosive growth potential, the property also offers both short and long-term redevelopment opportunities,” he says.

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