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(Ian Ritter is national online editor for GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

COLUMBIA, SC-Three investors are putting $300 million of equity into locally based developer Edens & Avant to build and redevelop centers up and down the East Coast. The State of Michigan Retirement System, JP Morgan Asset Management–Real Estate and the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, all long-term Edens investors, are providing the funding.

The $300 million will go toward a development and redevelopment pipeline that is already at $1.2 billion, Terry Brown, Edens’ chief executive officer, tells GSR. “We had plenty of firepower yesterday, and we have more today,” he says, explaining that the $3-billion firm receives investments from a variety of entities.

Edens will focus on the existing East Coast markets where it owns about 170 centers, with emphasis on Atlanta, Boston, the Carolinas, Miami and the Washington, DC area. The company is not looking at entering any new markets at this time, Brown says.

Edens started its relationship with the State of Michigan in 1997, when that entity made an initial investment in the developer. JP Morgan and NYSTRS became involved in 2000 with a $200-million investment. The combined groups then funded Edens $200 million in 2002 and $150 million the following year.

Edens most recent development announcement came earlier this month, when the firm acquired a 36-acre tract of land in Pooler, GA, outside of Savannah, were it will build a 300,000-sf retail center. Executives are also considering the development of a nearby, 145-acre site to build a mixed-use complex.

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