BIRMINGHAM, AL-Locally based Colonial Properties Trust today followed up Monday’s $1.5-billion merger announcement by revealing another agreement, this one placing it in a partnership with New York-based DRA Advisors LLC that is acquiring 16 multifamily properties in Albuquerque, Phoenix, Tucson and Las Vegas with a combined 4,223 units. DRA provides investment management services for institutional and private investors, including pension funds, university endowments, foundations and insurance companies. Colonial says it has acquired a 20% stake in the partnership and will handle property leasing and management upon acquisition of the properties. Colonial chief executive Thomas Lowder says the transaction is another example of the company expanding its presence in high growth markets and diversifying its Net Operating Income geographically.Colonial owns 23,786 multifamily units and 6.7 million sf of office and retail properties concentrated primarily in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. On Monday, Colonial announced an agreement to acquire Cornerstone Realty Income Trust, which owns and manages 87 multifamily properties comprising 22,910 units concentrated primarily in Dallas/Fort Worth, Charlotte and Atlanta. Lowder says Colonial’s post-merger multifamily portfolio should generate over 50% of the company’s 2005 pro forma NOI versus approximately 29% in 2004. Moreover, Lowder says no single state will account for more than 27% of the company’s 2005 pro forma NOI, which compares to approximately 42% in 2004. The transaction has been approved by both boards but now needs shareholder approval.

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