PHOENIX-The Cole Cos. has acquired roughly 831,000 sf of single- and multi-tenant retail properties in April, checking off another $184 million in its goal to deploy $1 billion this year. The fast-paced buying spree has put the local company over the $550-million mark.

One of the newest properties to roll into the till is the 273,000-sf Lincoln Place, the first of two phases of a power center in Fairview Heights, IL. The nine-year-old center, a mix of top-draw national retailers, was sold by the Koman Properties Inc. of St. Louis. Also this month, the buyer has paid $65 million to an Applebee’s International Inc. franchisee for a portfolio, says Dan Weber, senior vice president of acquisitions for the Phoenix-based Cole Cos.

Weber tells that the 28-year-old company has been working to shed its single-tenant image although quality single-tenant, long-term, net-lease product is still its bread and butter. Not only is it buying multi-tenant retail, but it’s also sizing up single-tenant office and industrial assets too.

Weber says age isn’t a concern as long as the asset’s in good condition, well-maintained and positioned in a relevant trade area. “The thing we look at is the long-term leases,” he says. “Even an old property could have a tenant with a restructured lease.”

Weber says the buyer has been using a 60% leverage strategy. To date this year, Cole has bought nearly four million sf in the US, urban and suburban cities alike. He says the second-quarter plan calls for spending at least $100 million per month.

If the buyer meets its 2007 goal, it will deploy twice as much as it did last year. Weber says given the firm’s evolution, the increase is more natural progression than “wow” factor. “We currently own or manage right around $2 billion in assets in terms of value,” he says. “When you look at that, the numbers don’t seem so outlandish.”

On the other side of the balance sheet, Weber says asset sales aren’t likely to occur this year although they can’t be ruled out. Cole generally holds assets five to 10 years, but a portfolio could come along that might need some trimming. “If we buy a portfolio, we might have too many properties in a particular tenant mix or state,” Weber adds. “I imagine a few properties could go in 2007, but nothing is planned right now. We’re buying and acquiring.”

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