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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

MIAMI-In its first acquisition, a joint venture between locally based Equity One Inc. and an affiliate of New York City-based DRA Advisors LLC has purchased a three-property value-add package in South Florida. The $53-million deal includes shopping centers in Plantation and Margate and a three-building office asset in Boca Raton.

The properties were encumbered by a $38.9-million loan, which the buyer assumed, says John Bell, managing director of DTZ Rockwood’s Miami office, who represented the seller in the transaction. The seller, Los Angeles-based Gehr Development, sold the assets to focus on properties that are closer to home and less management intensive, Bell tells GlobeSt.com, adding that all three properties have occupancy challenges.

Equity One announced its joint venture with an affiliate of DRA in April with the intent of investing in value-add opportunities. Both parties will continue to acquire assets throughout the US, predominantly retail property, according to Matthew Shore, director of acquisitions with DRA Advisors, which holds 80% of the JV. “We identified this portfolio of properties that we deemed to have good value-add components with strong demographics in infill locations and at significantly below replacement costs,” Shore says of the deal.

The portfolio includes Plantation Marketplace, a 230,330-sf retail center in Plantation anchored by Winn-Dixie and CVS; Penn Dutch Plaza, a 155,628-sf center located in Margate anchored by Penn Dutch Food Center; and 1900/2000 Offices, a three-building 116,777-sf office complex primarily occupied by professional services tenants, including attorneys, accountants and staffing firms, according to Equity One.

“The joint venture has a lot of firepower, creating optimism for all three of these assets moving forward,” says Bell. “Equity One is one of the dominant retail operators in the region, and their focus and expertise on both of the shopping centers should be able to turn them around relatively quickly as opposed to a private ownership group that’s out of the market.” He says DRA’s experience with managing turning around value-add office buildings will most certainly benefit the Boca Raton property.

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