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MACAE, BRAZIL-Brazil is a hot place, as far as US shopping-center owners are concerned. Chattanooga-TN-based CBL & Assoc. is the second retail REIT to announce this week, after Kimco Realty, that it is developing an asset in the South American country.

CBL is a partnership to develop Plaza Macaé, a 220,000-sf open-air center here with Belo Horizonte, Brazil-based developer Tenco Realty. CBL is acquiring 60% of the development, to open next year, for $15.3 million, while Tenco will build and manage the center.

CBL has the option of purchasing a 51% interest in any future Tenco developments. “The returns on new developments in Brazil, which average in the low-to-mid teens, are extremely attractive and provide one of the best risk-reward scenarios available today,” says Stephen Lebovitz, CBL’s president.

The Brazilian center will be CBL’s first outside for the US. Kimco Realty Corp., based in New Hyde Park, NY is also entering Brazil and starting a 135,000-sf development in Valinhos.

CBL’s portfolio consists of 135 properties, 83 of them regional malls and open-air centers. Management also announced recently that it is building Statesboro (GA) Crossing, a 162,000-sf open-air center, in partnership with developer Ewing Southeast Realty. The T.J. Maxx- and Hobby Lobby-anchored development is scheduled to break ground in the fourth quarter and open next fall.

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