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LOUISVILLE, KY-Rouse Co. has paid a premium to buy out the owner of a competing mall here located across Interstate 264 from its Mall St. Mathews. The Maryland-based mall owner paid $123 million in cash and assumed debt for the 930,000-sf development known as Oxmoor Center Mall. The seller was D. Talmage Hocker, president of David Hocker & Associates Inc., a locally based private retail owner and developer. Oxmoor is anchored by Von Maur, Lazarus, Sears and Galyans. In total, the mall generates $230 million in annual sales with in-line stores generating nearly $400 per sf in sales. Notable in-line tenants include Coach, Pottery Barn Kids, Sharper Image, Coldwater Creek, Brighton Collectables, Mimi Maternity and California Pizza Kitchen. “Oxmoor and Mall St. Matthews are the two best malls in Louisville, with combined sales of $450 to $500 million,” says Hocker. “Rouse will now dominate the market and will achieve economies of scale in leasing and operations.” Executives of Granite Partners, which brokered the sale for Hocker, say Oxmoor had outflanked Rouse by adding Von Maur, a Midwestern version of Nordstrom, and several upscale complimentary retailers, while Mall St. Matthews recently lost its Lord & Taylor anchor. Gerry Mason, executive managing director of Granite Partners, says the pricing was extremely strong for a secondary market mall. “The cap rate was below 6 %, reflecting strong market fundamentals and Rouse’s desire to solidify its position in Louisville,” says Mason. “Normally, only trophy malls are able to deliver cap rates in the 5 to 6 % range.” Granite managing director John Williams tells GlobeSt.com that Rouse will be able to quickly and significantly raise the property’s net operating income by combining the malls’ operations, thereby raising its capitalization rate on the investment. In a conference call with investors, Rouse executives said Oxmoor’s rent amounts to 9.4% of its sales and St Mathews’ rent amounts to 12% of sales. Without having to compete for tenants with Hocker, the executives said both malls should be up to the company average of 14% within two years. Rouse said in August that it expected to finance the Oxmoor acquisition by assuming $60 million in mortgage debt and paying $63 million in cash from its revolving credit facility and/or other borrowings. The company, which will merge into General Growth Properties in a matter of days, was not immediately available for comment Wednesday afternoon.

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