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DARTMOUTH, NOVA SCOTIA-A new shopping center unfolding here has found a powerful investor, as the Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust has agreed to secure a 50% interest in Dartmouth Crossing. The 1.5 million-sf lifestyle center just outside downtown Halifax is being constructed by North American Development Group, another Canadian-based firm which will remain a partner as it builds the partially opened center to full capacity.

NADG “has produced an outstanding retail project with a dominant market position,” CREIT President Stephen Johnson said in a release announcing the pact. Having also bought into NADG’s Carrefour de le Rive-Sud Shopping Center in Quebec, CREIT has a history with the firm, and Johnson says his company is “delighted to expand our partnership with (NADG) by acquiring an interest in another superb shopping center.”

CREIT is paying $135 million for its investment, and this week delivered $75 million of that tab. The remaining funds are expected to be issued in the near term, company officials stated. CREIT did not assume any debt on the acquisition, but $115 million of new debt financing was raised earlier this year on other properties to provide funds for anticipated 2007 acquisitions, including Dartmouth Crossing. The center is part of the Halifax Regional Municipality, an area where CREIT already has substantial holdings. “The new acquisition complements and strengthens CREIT’s position in the Halifax region,” says Johnson, whose entity owns 140 industrial, office and retail properties throughout the country.

Declaring Dartmouth Crossing as “one of Canada’s best retail assets,” Johnson notes the project has already attracted an impressive roster of tenants. Among the well known names in place are Best Buy, Golf Town, Linens ‘n Things and Staples, while Dartmouth Crossing also offers a variety of dining and entertainment options. The park features several retailer-owned anchors such as Costco, Empire Theaters, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. The retail-owned portion encompasses about 650,000 sf of the complex, with CREIT buying into the remaining piece of the center.

Dartmouth Crossing will continue to be managed by Centrecorp Management Services, an NADG affiliate specializing in the operation of retail centers in Canada and the US. Centrecorp is also manager of another NADG-owned mall in Nova Scotia, the Clayton Park Shopping Centre.

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