SANTA FE, NM-Making its first entrance into the state, a Coral Gables, FL-based buyer known for redeveloping and re-branding retail centers, has acquired the 127,000-sf Santa Fe Outlets for $9 million in an off-market deal. Talisman Cos. LLC plans to put another $9 million into renovating the 16-year-old center, which it bought from Gulfstream Group of Albuquerque.

As part of the re-branding process, Talisman is renaming the 70%-leased center to Fashion Outlets at Santa Fe. James Schlesinger, president and CEO of Talisman Cos., says upgrades will begin immediately on the 16-acre center at 8380 Cerrillos Rd. He tells that work should be completed by early 2009.

Schlesinger points out that the center is the only outlet mall in New Mexico, so the decision to acquire it was a no-brainer. “I’m a fan of Santa Fe. I think it’s a terrific area with a great tourism base,” he adds. “A lot can be done with this property and we saw it as a real nice turnaround opportunity.”

Schlesinger also sees it as a good introduction of the Fashion Outlets brand to the Southwest. The company has Fashion Outlets in Niagara, NY and Las Vegas. “We like the Southwest and West and we’re looking at some properties there,” he says, adding Arizona is on the buy list.

The Santa Fe center has 25 stores, including Brooks Brothers Factory Store, Jones New York, Coach, Liz Claiborne, Wilson’s Leather Outlet, Johnston and Murphy, Eddie Bauer Outlet, Coleman Factory Store, Nine West Shoes, Harry & David, and a Zales outlet. Talisman recently signed Polo/Ralph Lauren Factory Store to a long-term lease.

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