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JACKSONVILLE, FL-Locally based Regency Centers Corp. and Macquarie Countrywide of Sydney, Australia have closed the biggest retail investment deal of the year in Florida and the Southeast with the $2.68-billion purchase of the CalPERS/First Washington portfolio. The deal covers a total of 12.8 million sf at 101 shopping centers in 17 states and the District of Columbia, as GlobeSt.com reported Feb. 15.

The purchase price equates to an average $209.38 per sf or about $26.5 million per property. Macquarie will own 65% of the 96%-leased assets; Regency, 35%. Regency now owns or manages 392 retail centers totaling 49 million sf of gross leasable area in 26 states. When the contract was signed, Regency chairman and CEO Martin E. Stein Jr. said “the quality of the portfolio, in terms of top markets, grocer strength and especially demographics, augments Regency’s already exceptional portfolio.”

Stein added the acquisition “allows us to profitably expand into new markets such as the suburbs of New York City and Minneapolis, and to enhance our presence in the key target markets of Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, DC while substantially growing our joint venture program.”

Stein says Regency plans to fund its 35% equity in the deal–about $400 million–by drawing on its line of credit and with about $275 million of bridge financing provided by Wells Fargo Bank.

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