CLEVELAND, OH-Developers Diversified Realty Corp. has closed on its $6.2 billion takeover of Inland Retail Real Estate Trust Inc., the second largest retail REIT acquisition ever, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and Thomson Financial. The portfolio of 44.2 million sf increases DDR’s franchise value and total GLA by 38%, says company officials.

In conjunction with the acquisition, DDR also closed on a joint venture with TIAA-CREF for 66 of the Inland shopping center for about $3 billion. The company also issued about 5.7 million DDR common shares to Inland Retail shareholders at $69.54 per share, and completed other financial obligations as part of the acquisition.

Scott A. Wolstein, DDR chairman and CEO, says the purchase allows the company to gain retail dominance in several markets. “We will…exercise capital discipline to improve portfolio quality through joint venture and asset sales,” Wolstein said in a company statement. “We can leverage our dominant position in these growing markets to drive rental growth.” Daniel B. Hurwitz, senior EVP and CIO with DDR, said in the statement that the company will enact initiatives with some properties in the new portfolio that will include redevelopment, expansion and re-leasing projects.

Officials at DDR say the company now owns and manages 162 million sf, with 800 retail operating and development properties in 45 states, plus Puerto Rico and Brazil. The company said it also plans to sell off another portfolio of 60 to 70 non-core assets owned by both Inland and DDR. That deal, which is expected to generate between $600 million

The firm plans to begin construction on two shopping centers totaling 1.1 million sf in California and Florida in 2007, and it currently has four more shopping centers under construction with its joint venture partners.

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