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SANTA MONICA, CA-Having just completed one for Queens Center in New York City, expect more joint ventures from the Macerich Company, executives said at the company’s second quarter conference call.

Last week, the company announced that it would sell a 49% interest in the nearly one-million-square-foot mall to Toronto-based Cadillac Fairview, for $150 million in net cash. The deal is the eighth joint venture between the two companies. The funds will help reduce Macerich’s leverage in a tight financing market.

“We always knew that we’d be able to tap into the joint venture market, because it’s in our DNA. Our company was founded on doing joint ventures with financial institutions,” Coppola said. “These are tough deals to do, but we are pleased with where we are.”

Plans call for exceeding $500 million in joint ventures this year, and the company is ahead of its time curve on fulfilling that goal, he added. More such deals with two “institutional investors that are household names” should be announced over the next 30 to 60 days. When the next round is done, the amount raised will total about $450 million.

It helps, he said, that Macerich specializes in Class A regional malls, with average sales of just over $400 per square foot, a property type that remains appealing despite the current economy. In fact, that may be picking up, he said.

“Sales remain tough, but they are not getting any worse,” Coppola said. “We think a key measure is the fourth quarter, particularly this year.”

The key, he noted, is that retailers have downsized their sales expectations and achieved a certain stability that is allowing them to begin making new commitments and starting new divisions. In return, Macerich is taking cautious risks, in part by doing shorter leases.

Where it isn’t likely to take risks is with government money, despite speculation that Macerich would utilize TALF funds. Macerich prefers to raise funds using its assets.

“Like anyone, we’re mindful of the ability to take advantage [of the program], but we were never tied to the syndicated mortgage market,” Coppola said. “I would not anticipate Macerich being [much] in the TALF market if at all.”

Work continues on the company’s redevelopments, Scottsdale [AZ] Fashion Square, which will open an expansion in October, Santa Monica [CA] Place, which will open August 7, 2010, and Northgate in Marin County, CA.

For the quarter, total funds from operations (FFO) diluted were $59.9 million or $0.67 per diluted share compared to $1.12 per diluted share for the quarter ended June 30, 2008. Net loss available to common stockholders was $21.7 million, compared to earnings $15.1 million for the year-ago quarter.

Macerich owns approximately 76 million square feet of gross leasable area consisting primarily of interests in 72 regional malls.

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