CLEVELAND-Developers Diversified Realty has completed a $204 million joint venture with partner Kuwait Financial Centre – Markaz in which the locally based REIT has contributed 13 grocery-anchored centers. A majority of the centers were acquired through DDR’s acquisition of a portfolio from Benderson Development Co., in a deal that closed during the last financial quarter.

DDR maintains a 20% ownership interest in the centers and will continue to manage the assets. The shopping center owner and Kuwait Financial, an investment management firm, first formed an alliance in May 2003. At that time, the two closed a $169 million joint venture deal.

This latest transaction reduces DDR’s exposure to grocery-anchored centers, says Scott A. Wolstein, the company’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. The firm prefers to operate open-air centers that are market-dominant community shopping centers. DDR closed a similar deal that decreased its grocery-center ownership stake in last month, when it sold shares of 12 properties to Prudential Real Estate Investors for $128 million.

The centers in the Kuwait deal are mostly in New York State. They range in size from 62,747 sf to 278,241 sf and are anchored by Kroger and Tops Markets stores.

DDR’s latest joint venture comes on the heels of an agreement last week to acquire 15 open-air centers in Puerto Rico for $1.15 billion. Those centers would be the company’s first outside of the United States. DDR owns about 460 centers in 44 states totaling 102 million sf.

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