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BOSTON-Locally based Heritage Property Investment Trust Inc., one of the largest owners of community shopping centers in the US, has approved a $3.2-billion merger with Centro Properties Group, an Australian firm that owns and manages more than $11 billion in real estate assets in Australia, New Zealand and the US. The merger will establish Centro as the ninth largest owner and manager of retail property in the US, the company said in a statement to shareholders. Heritage, which owns 171 shopping centers in 30 states valued at more than $3.2 billion, said in a statement that shareholders approved the merger, which is set to take effect Oct. 5.

Stephen Faberman, vice president and corporate council for Heritage, tells GlobeSt.com that under the terms of the agreement, holders of Heritage’s common stock will receive $36.67 per share, which includes a regular dividend that has not yet been paid for the third quarter.

“As a result of the transaction, Heritage will no longer be an independent public company,” Faberman says, adding that Centro will maintain a Boston office following the merger. Centro Saturn MergerSub LLC, the affiliate that acquired the Boston REIT, could not be reached for comment.

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