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PHOENIX-Prominent retail developer Vestar Inc. has obtained $156.7 million in three loans for a trio of power centers that opened this spring in the Valley. The non-recourse financing represents 80% of the loan to value of the 1.2 million sf of retail space.

“There was a tremendous amount of interest from lenders to finance these assets,” says John Smeck III, a principal with Johnson Capital Partners of Arizona LLC. “All of the centers are well-located with freeway exposure and impressive tenant line-ups. And thesponsorship was a huge part of the deals.” Vestar replaced debt for Happy Valley Towne Center at 2501 W. Happy Valley Rd. in Phoenix; Gilbert Gateway Towne Center at 14000 S. Tower Rd. in Gilbert; and Crossroads Towne Center at 3757 S. Gilbert Rd. in Chandler.

Smeck says the 10-year loans have a fixed-rate interest of sub-6%. “It was the borrower’s decision to place the loans with different lenders,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “Vestar wanted to do business with multiple lenders and to expand existing relationships.”

Wachovia Securities LLC provided a $56-million loan for the 80-acre Happy Valley Towne Center. The financing replaces a construction loan with Guaranty Bank for the 675,000-sf phase one, which is anchored by ground leases with Wal-Mart and Lowe’s and part of the collateral. The 96%-leased center’s roster includes Staples, the Sports Authority, Circuit City, Pier I Imports, Petco, Linens ‘n Things, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and CostPlus World Market.

The 95%-leased Gilbert Gateway Towne Center collateralized a $50.2-million loan from Irving, TX-based Archon Financial LP. Situated on 80 acres, the 267,000-sf center is shadow anchored by a 185,000-sf SuperTarget, which is one of the first to open in Arizona and a Maytag store–neither of which are part of the collateral. The financing replaced a construction loan with California Bank & Trust, Smeck says. The center’s roster includes PetsMart, Ross Dress for Less, Pier I Imports, Michael’s, Linens ‘n Things, CostPlus World Market, Dress Barn, Famous Footwear and Tilly’s.

In Chandler, the 96%-leased first phase of the 140-acre Crossroads Towne Center earned a $50.5-million loan from Lehman Brothers to replace a construction loan with Bank One. The first phase, totaling 255,000 sf, is shadow anchored by a SuperTarget. Other tenants are Ross Dress for Less, Pier I Imports, Michael’s, Linens ‘n Things and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.

“The construction loans weren’t close to their maturity, but Vestar wanted to close permanent loans as soon as possible to take advantage of the favorable interest rate environment,” Smeck says, adding it required a lot of effort from all parties to get the deals done at the same time. For more retail coverage, click GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.

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