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Ian Ritter is national online editor for GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.

CHICAGO-Urban Retail Properties has split from the three companies that owned the third-party retail property manager. Terms of the deal were not immediately available. The company was a privately held subsidiary of General Growth Properties, Simon Property Group and Westfield Group.

The three mall owners acquired Urban in 2002 as part of their $5.3-billion acquisition of the Rodamco North America portfolio. (General Growth gained its share through the purchase last year of the Rouse Co., which bought Rodamco along with Simon and Westfield.) Prior to that, Rodamco had owned Urban.

Before those acquisitions, the more-than 30-year-old Urban Retail existed under many entities and was a major US mall owner in the 1990s. Though many of Urban’s trophy malls, such as portions of Copley Place in Boston, Water Tower Place in Chicago and San Francisco Centre, were absorbed in the Rodamco deal, the company currently manages 45 million sf of retail and is involved in the development of many development projects across the country, including the $300-million Centre Pointe at Pleasant Grove in Rogers, AR. Ross Glickman is the company’s CEO.

What the split from its three former owners possibly means for Urban, according to industry observers, is more opportunity. “They were restricted from getting into the development business,” says R. Webber Hudson, EVP of Related Urban Development, and former president of Urban’s retail leasing. “They were competing with their owners.”

Steven Greenberg, president of the Hewlett, NY-based Greenberg Group, a retail real estate consulting firm, says that Urban has the ability to again become competitive in the ownership business. “They know how to do it,” he states. “They’ve done it before. They had some of the most successful malls in the country.”

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