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NEW YORK CITY-Retail real estate firms won’t be facing a shortfall of outside funding any time soon, said speakers Friday at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Capital Marketplace Conference at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Whether it’s from public, private or foreign sources, people are still looking to invest in retail.

“The number-one ask out there continues to be retail, whether forming a partnership with a public or private company,” said John Montaquila, a principal at Chicago-based banking advisory firm Macquarie Capital Partners. Macquarie’s parent company, the Australia-based Macquarie Group, has done a number of US shopping center transactions, most recently a $396.2 million joint-venture deal with Developers Diversified Realty to acquire 36 Mervyns department stores.

Australian capital has flowed into the US market, Montaquila explains, because of a recent move by the government Down Under to require citizens to put 9% of their income into savings. “You have a wealthy country that’s increasing their savings, and they need a place to invest,” he said. Though many of the larger deals have already taken place, Australian groups are still looking to invest as much as $300 million at a time in the US market, Montaquila says.

Glenn Rufrano, CEO of New York City-based New Plan Excel Realty Trust, says that he is still seeing a lot of interest from 1031 groups in the market. Of the $100 million in dispositions his firm will do this year, about 90% will be sold to those types of partnerships.

Eric Hamermesh, a principal at investment firm Canyon Capital Realty in Beverley Hills, CA says that his group is bullish on developments in the Midwest as well as urban infill projects. “That market has only scratched the surface,” he said of infills, explaining that there are a lot of untapped dollars in those areas.

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