(Read more on the net lease market.)

NEW YORK CITY-Capital Lease Funding Inc. has closed on a $364.4-million acquisition that includes 18 net-leased properties and $159.3 million of debt. Wachovia Bank NA provided locally based CapLease with a $211-million short-term bridge loan.

“We view this acquisition as a very important milestone for our company for several reasons,” says CEO Paul McDowell. “Our portfolio of high quality real estate assets now exceeds $2 billion, over 75% of which is owned office, industrial and retail properties. In a little more than three years since going public, we have built an owned property portfolio of over 10 million sf. In addition, this acquisition highlights our ability to successfully source, underwrite and close a large and complex portfolio of high quality assets.”

The newly acquired properties are located across the US and total more than four million sf. CapLease purchased three warehouse buildings totaling 2,560,000 sf that Nestle USA Inc. has leased until December 2012. The buildings are located in Breinigsville, PA; Fort Wayne, IN; and Lathrop, CA. A total of 685,000 sf in 11 Kroger grocery stores were also purchased; the Kroger Co. has leased the space till 2022. This grouping includes five stores in Kentucky, four in Georgia and two in Tennessee. CapLease has also taken a 346,000-sf office building in Johnston, RI; a 420,000-sf office building in Omaha; and a 130,000-sf office building in Hartford.

“The tenants in this all triple net lease portfolio increase our weighted average underlying credit rating to single A while our weighted average remaining lease term on our owned property portfolio remains over 10 years,” McDowell says. “This portfolio will provide a variety of benefits to our company both in the near term and for years to come. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to our stockholders, with the impact on 2007 earnings estimated in the revised guidance we are providing today.”

Wachovia Bank provided the $211-million short-term bridge loan.

According to a release on the transaction, CapLease “intends to repay the bridge line with proceeds from refinancing the debt it assumed on the above properties, potential property sales, and issuances of equity, long-term debt or other permanent capital alternatives the company is evaluating.”

According to CapLease’s website, the firm has closed more than $3.5 billion in transactions since it began in 1996. In late February, CapLease purchased a 271,000-sf office complex in Simi Valley, CA for $42 million, as GlobeSt.com reported.

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