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CINCINNATI-Locally-based Phillips Edison & Co. has purchased Bridgewater Falls, a 600,000-square-foot regional shopping center in Fairfield Township, OH. The company made the investment through its Strategic Investment Fund and paid in cash. The purchase price was not released.

“This is a significant purchase not only due to the fact that it is one of the few REO assets to close this year but also because very few companies have the ability to close something of this magnitude at a time of severe market contraction,” says David Birdsall, chief development officer for Phillips Edison.

The 54-acre shopping center is anchored by TJ Maxx, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pet smart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Michaels and Target. Retailers such as JCPenney, Chili’s and Max & Erma’s have ground leases on the site, which were also part of the deal.

According to reports, the shopping center, which was constructed in 2005, has been in receivership since 2008 when Premier Properties USA defaulted on its $80 million loan. Therefore, Phillips Edison purchased the property from Wachovia Bank.

The purchase was part of Phillips Edison’s $70 million Strategic Investment Fund plan, marking the third such property the company has purchased recently. The fund targets retail properties that are larger thatn 150,000 square feet and are locatd in major metropolitan markets.

“The market is now rewarding owners with strong operating capabilities who can execute in the currently distressed environment. Our national operating and leasing platform provides with us a competitive advantage over owners with just pure investment capabilities,” Birdsall says. “Combine that with access to capital, and it becomes a very narrow field of buyers who can take on an asset of any significant size. Our Strategic Investment Fund was set up to serve this niche.”

As GlobeSt.com reported at the end of July, Phillips Edison paid $12 million for a 171,801-square-foot shopping center in Arizona.

The company owns and operates more than 230 shopping centers in 35 states.

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