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Ian Ritter is national online editor of GlobeSt.RETAIL.

LAS VEGAS-The Lightstone Group, owner of outlet center chain Prime Retail, is buying two super-regional malls totaling two million sf, one in North Carolina and one in Georgia, for $175 million, sources say. David Lichtenstein, Lightstone’s chairman and principal, would not disclose the names of the centers or the seller, but did say they are located in suburbs of major metro areas and being sold by a “well-known REIT.”

More details on the transaction will be available in 30 days, Lichtenstein says. Those potential acquisitions, along with the recent purchase of two outlet malls in Orlando, will cost Lakewood, NJ-based Lightstone a total of $400 million, he says.

The Georgia and North Carolina centers could be possible redevelopment opportunities, according to Lichtenstein. “Everything we touch we improve. We’re always upgrading; we’re always looking to be on the cutting edge of retail,” he said from the floor of the International Council of Shopping Centers spring convention here.

Lightstone, which owns a portfolio of traditional regional malls, has been adding high-end outlet tenants that have a presence in the Prime portfolio to those centers. Lightstone acquired Prime in late 2003 for $626.5 million.

The last regional mall transaction announced by Lightstone executives was in February, when the firm bought Dakota Square Mall, in Minot, ND, for $55.1 million. Lightstone owns about a dozen regional malls around the country and approximately 30 outlet centers under Prime. Lichtenstein told GlobeSt.com in October that the company planned to acquire 15 more regional malls for its portfolio as well as build one to two outlet centers a year.

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