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JERICHO, NY-Fueled by an increase in a credit facility to $175 million completed last week, Getty Realty Corp. continues to make acquisitions, the latest a 59-property portfolio. Estimated at $78 million, the deal announced today “is consistent with our continuing focus on profitable growth through acquisitions of quality properties” for the real estate investment trust’s portfolio, says CEO Leo Liebowitz.

“This hits a couple of new states for us,” a company spokesman tells GSR, those being California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota and Texas. GRC already has holdings in Maryland and New Hampshire, two other states in the package. Described as the largest REIT focused on ownership and leasing of retail motor fuel and convenience store properties, GRC has been looking beyond its traditional base in the northeast, says Stirnweis, although he stresses that the REIT does not have a defined expansion goal or map.

“We’re not going to commit to ‘X’ amount of dollars for acquisitions … but we always are looking for good opportunities,” says the spokesman. Prior to this year, GRC had a handful of properties in Florida and nothing else outside the northeast, he says. The REIT does not plan to re-flag the properties in the 59-unit portfolio under the Getty brand, says Stirnweis, whose REIT also hopes to complete a 68-property acquisition later this month. As in the case of the just-announced deal, the latter purchase was made from Trustreet Properties Inc. Previously announced, 60 of the 68 properties in that portfolio have already closed, Stirnweis says, but technical issues have held up the remaining assets. That portfolio was valued at $86.6 million.

According to a form 10-K filed recently with the Securities and Exchange Commission, GRC owned fee title to 829 gasoline/convenience store operations as of year-end 2006, and leased 213 such properties. The expansion efforts were strengthened by the extension of the senior unsecured revolving credit facility with JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, the administrative agent for a group of domestic banks.

Besides increasing the aggregate amount of the credit facility to $175 million, the amended vehicle reduces the interest rate on LIBOR-based borrowings by 0.25% and extends the facility to March 2011. Subject to approval by the GRC board of directors and the bank syndicate, the credit facility could be raised by another $300 million as needed.

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