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CHICAGO-General Growth Properties, which was involved in a $12.3-billion merger of its own with Rouse Co. in November, has a strategy to deal with another high-profile retail merger. The pending $17-billion merger of Federated Department Stores and May Co. gives the REIT 19 overlapping anchors in its portfolio, president and chief operating officer Robert Michaels notes during the company’s earnings conference call Tuesday.

However, Michaels says the company will consider redeveloping redundant anchors into new “streetscape,” restaurant or entertainment space. Chief executive officer John Bucksbaum adds the company will consider teaming with the anchor store owners, often the retailers themselves, in redevelopment projects.

High occupancy in the company’s 174-million-sf retail portfolio is one reason for the strategy, which could create additional space for fast-rising retailers. “The biggest challenge when you’re 94% occupied is to find the space for new specialty retailers to accommodate their growth,” Michaels says.

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