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FORT WAYNE, IN-In a move that will relinquish Youngstown, OH-based Cafaro Co., of some of its non-core assets, the retail development company put five retail centers out to bid. Emerging as the taker, locally based Equity Investment Group has gained control of the 755,000-sf retail portfolio, which includes properties located in Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Ben Wineman, vice president with Oakbrook Terrace, IL-based Mid-America, represented Cafaro in the sale. He tells GlobeSt.com that the centers were selected based on Cafaro’s operational strategy, which consists of having an open-air center near a company-owned regional mall.

Because these centers were stand-alone properties without a Cafaro regional mall or base office nearby, it made sense to dispose of them, Wineman says. “Cafaro doesn’t have their typical critical mass in these assets,” Wineman says. “Their core business is middle- and secondary-market enclosed malls.”

For Equity Investment Group’s part, the centers are in line with the type of property opportunities the company targets. “It made sense for them,” Wineman tells GlobeSt.com. “They are based in Fort Wayne, and value-add components are right up Equity’s alley. Through opportunities to lease vacant space and take advantage of lease roll-overs, Equity will be able to renovate the centers, which could result in increasing rents and higher profitability.” Representatives for Equity could not be reached by press time.

Despite being value-add opportunities, Wineman assures that the properties were not sold because of underperformance. “These were all good pieces of real estate,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “Many were built in ‘50s and ‘60s and had never been sold. It was simply a matter of circumstance.” Because of confidentiality restrictions, Wineman could not disclose the price of the portfolio.

The portfolio includes:

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