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WASHINGTON, DC-Combined Properties Inc. a full-service real estate firm based on the West Coast with an office in DC, is venturing with Chicago-based Heitman to acquire $200 million of institutional grade shopping centers both here and in California.

To seed the new venture, Combined Properties contributed a Waldorf, MD-based shopping center called Charles County Plaza. Alex Iszard, EVP and general counsel for the firm estimates its value to be more than $30 million. The recently renovated and expanded 142,500-sf center is anchored by a 71,500-sf Giant Food store, Linens ‘N Things and Pier One.

Iszard declined to tell GlobeSt.com the original amount of equity or the ownership structure of the venture, other than to say that Combined Properties will manage the joint venture’s daily operations and manage and lease each retail property acquired. The $200 million represents final purchasing power of the fund.

Iszard estimates the fund, which is investing for a medium to long term hold time period, should be able to acquire five to six properties at $25 million to $35 million each.

There is nothing under contract, he says. “We have identified one possibility on the East Coast and we are looking at several possibilities on the West Coast this week.”

Iszard says that the investments the fund will make will be similar Charles County Plaza, which with a 96.5% occupancy rate, can be classified as core, institutional grade. Instead of a value-add approach, he says, “we hope to realize rent growth and asset appreciation.”

This is the second equity fund the firm has closed in the past three years as part of its aggressive growth strategy. The fund is also a logical step for Combined Properties as it seeks to expand its Mid-Atlantic presence, says Katherine Roberson, president Combined Properties.

“Our objective is to continue to acquire well located shopping centers in these two outstanding markets,” she says.

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