TREXLERTOWN, PA-Cedar Shopping Centers turned an operating lease it held on the 338,692-sf Trexler Mall since July into an outright purchase of the asset for nearly $33.8 million, or $99.65 per sf. In an unrelated transaction, the Port Washington, NY-based retail REIT also buys four parcels aggregating nearly 6.4 acres adjacent to Columbia Mall in Bloomsburg for about $1 million, or $157,480 an acre.

The initial agreement for Trexler Mall included a purchase option after 10 years under a structure that Leo Ullman, Cedar’s president and CEO, told, accommodated the seller’s tax considerations. “We tried to accommodate the tax concerns of the seller,” he says now, “but couldn’t, so turned it into an outright purchase.”

Between July and now, the price rose from an anticipated $29 million. “The increase is a reflection of increased rates and tenancy,” Ullman says. The purchase included approximately $10.6 million in cash from Cedar’s revolving credit facility and assumption of $23.1 million of first-mortgage financing at 5.42% due in 2014.

Among the anchors are an 88,000-sf Kohl’s department store, a 62,000-sf Bon-Ton, and a 56,750 Giant supermarket. Ullman says occupancy is in the very high 90s, with just one small unit available for lease. Joseph Mersel of Norfolk, VA-based S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. represented the seller, identified only as “a partnership of investors run by a New York City lawyer.”

Regarding the additional acreage at Columbia Mall, Ullman says four of the acres at the back of the mall could be subdivided into two outparcels, and the additional land at the front of the center “encompasses three parcels and all will be primarily outparcels” that Cedar will lease. The maximum sf the outparcels will add to the mall, he tells, “will be function of the parking requirements for the tenants we put there. A drive-through McDonalds, for example, would have different requirements from another kind of tenant.”

Cedar closed on its acquisition of the 408,000-sf Columbia Mall this October. It paid approximately $14 million for the asset and is currently redeveloping the mall at an investment of between $20 million and $25 million. The redevelopment is scheduled for completion in fourth quarter 2007.

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