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

NEW YORK CITY-New Plan Excel has sold 15 neighborhood and community shopping centers to Phillips Edison & Co. for $68.5 million. The assets, located in 10 states, are mostly in the Southeast and are not part of locally based New Plan’s core portfolio.

New Plan’s management says it will use the proceeds to pay for general corporate purposes, including the payment of debt on its $350-million revolving credit facility. The company will record a real estate impairment of one cent per share in the fourth quarter as a result of the transaction. New Plan executive will release the deal’s capitalization rate with its Q4 earnings on Feb. 22.

The centers range in size from the 59,407-sf Cloverdale Village, in Florence, AL; to the 195,781-sf D&F Plaza, in Dunkirk, NY. Chains that are anchors at multiple centers involved in the deal include, Big Lots, Kmart and Winn-Dixie.

John Bessey, vice president of acquisitions tells GlobeSt.com of Baltimore-based Phillips Edison that the majority of the assets were grocery anchored, which is a typical investment requirement for theinvestment fund.

The acquisition fits in with Phillips Edison’s strategy of picking off non core assets from companies that are realigning a core portfolio, he adds. “As New Plan Excel adjusts its core portfolio we are an excellent choice as a buyer for those non core assets. That has been an important acquisition strategy of ours.”

Baltimore-based Phillips Edison has been on a buying streak of late. Since September it has acquired six centers across the country. The company owns about 130 retail assets in 25 states.

In 2006 Phillips Edison has acquired $304 million. Next year, he says, the company is looking to place an additional $450 million.

New Plan sold six centers during its most recently-reported quarter, which ended on Sept. 30, for $22.2 million. The company, which owns 461 shopping centers, bought three assets during that period for $64.4 million.

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