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ATLANTA-Jamestown has made its first acquisition from its $450-million Co-Invest V Fund to buy 80% of a Weingarten Realty Trust portfolio. The joint venture, dubbed the Southest Retail Joint Venture, is valued at approximately $160 million and encompasses a six-property portfolio of grocery anchored centers throughout the southeast.

The first phase of the Southeast Retail Joint Venture involved four properties valued at $114 million. The two remaining properties will close once the loans are assumed. The centers are in Atlanta and South Florida.

With this move, Jamestown takes a dive back into retail investment. “We have a fairly long history in the retail sector, but hadn’t been there for awhile,” Jamestown managing director Jeffrey Ackermann tells GlobeSt.com. “But we made a conscious decision that with today’s economy being the way it is, we’re targeting neighborhood shopping centers. We think that perhaps retail has been an overlooked segment.”

He goes on to say that the Weingarten portfolio was an attractive investment for a variety of reasons, one of which is that the assets are all Publix-anchored centers in infill locations near residential areas that have good demographics. The portfolio is 92% occupied and ranges in age from the 1970s to the mid-2000s.

The partner was also an attraction for Jamestown. “Because that company is steeped in the grocery business, we knew these were the guys we wanted to do business with,” Ackermann says.

Meanwhile, the Co-Invest V Fund is on the prowl for more assets to acquire. Ackermann says the fund could be leveraged between 50% and 60%, which was how the Weingarten deal was structured. The acquisition was funded with equity, and Jamestown is currently working with a lender.

Ackermann declined to name the lender, explaining that the deal is still being hammered out. But he indicates there was a lot of positive response from many institutions. “There were a variety of institutions interested, from US life companies, to domestic banks, to pension funds, to European banks,” he explains. “This was a strong and surprising response, given the current market.”

It also shows some hope in the current market as well. “It bodes well for the next seller and buyer looking to acquire the third-party debt in order to buy,” Ackermann comments.

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