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JENKINTOWN, PA-With the closing of its purchase of a 26-property portfolio from Cleveland-based Charter One Bank, American Financial Realty Trust continues to near completion of six acquisitions it announced by region only when it sold almost 16.8 million shares of common stock in early May. The price of the Charter One sale-leaseback transaction, initially identified as a 35-property “Northern US” portfolio, was approximately $27 million, excluding transaction related expenses.

The nine additional properties in the portfolio await due diligence, Muriel Lange, who heads investor relations, tells GlobeSt.com, and are expected to close before the end of this year. “This is a brand-weighted portfolio,” she says, which also includes some small office buildings and has an aggregate of about 538,000 sf.

Charter One was acquired by, and became a subsidiary of Providence, RI-based Citizens Financial Group Inc. in August 2004. The portfolio contains properties that Charter One and Citizens Bank will lease back. While the majority of locations are in the Northeast, the portfolio also includes Charter One properties in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana.

This acquisition represents “an expanding relationship” with Charter One and Citizens, according to Nicholas Schorsch, the locally based specialty financial REIT’s president and CEO, and reflects American Financial’s “ability to efficiently execute multi-property acquisitions and structure transactions responding to the real estate needs of our customers,” he says.

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