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BOCA RATON, FL-Dizengoff-Trading Group expanded its area footprint with its second Florida buy, paying just under $28 million to Colonial Properties Trust for ownership rights to the 278,741-square-foot Colonial Promenade Winter Haven in Winter Haven, FL. The buyer will add the shopping center to its growing area portfolio, which includes the Shoppes at Monarch Lakes, a Publix-anchored center in Miramar, FL on which it closed in July.

Dizengoff US regional manager Ronen Saban says the appeal of both the Colonial Properties’ asset and the Shoppes at Monarch Lakes involved strong anchor tenants. Major anchors such as Publix and a Walmart SuperCenter, which is in Colonial Promenade Winter Haven, tend to attract credit-worthy tenants to fill up the rest of the center.

What also made the Winter Haven asset attractive was the long-term lease. “It’s very rare to find a Super Walmart with a long-term lease,” Saban tells GlobeSt.com “Walmart expanded last year into the super center, which meant a major renovation.” Furthermore, he continues, the asset itself is still relatively new construction.

Saban says Colonial Promenade Winter Haven and Shoppes at Monarch Lakes buys lay a solid foundation for Dizengoff in the United States. The next goal, he says, it to buy more in 2010. The Israeli company is serious enough about Florida to have opened an office in Boca Ratan as well.

“Prior to the crisis, Florida was at the hart of the boom with help from the weather, in-migration and the quality of the people coming in,” Saban explains. Over the long term, after the markets stabilize and credit is no longer frozen, Florida will be fairly quick to recover, he adds.

To take advantage of the situation, Dizengoff will continue targeting likely retail properties during 2010. Saban says Dizengoff also wants to bulk up its portfolio with residential product as well. Last fall, the company closed on a bulk purchase of 115 units at The Condominiums at Courtney Park in Lake Worth, FL. “Now is the time to buy quality product, with recent construction,” Saban says.

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