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CHICAGO-General Growth is buying the half of a 22-mall property it did not own from a joint-venture partner for $950 million. The mall owner is buying the stake in the portfolio, called GGP/Homart I, from New York State Common Retirement Fund.

The malls in the deal are located across the country. Traditional tenants like J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Sears anchor most of the regionally-sized assets. At least one of the malls, Chula Vista (CA) Center, is undergoing a renovation

The purchase price was mainly funded with a $750-million bank loan, and General Growth is also assuming about $1.05 billion in debt. Management does not anticipate that the deal will have an impact on its earnings projects for the year.

GGP/Homart was formed in 1995 to purchase a portfolio owned by Sears, Roebuck & Co. At that time, the venture acquired full interests in 15 regional malls and partial interests in other centers. Since that time, the venture bought and sold various assets.

General Growth owns interests in 210 centers across the country. Management announced earlier this week that it is converting Cottonwood Mall, in Holladay, UT, into a mixed-use center.

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