The Big Get Bigger

Fourth-ranking acquirer Inland Real Estate Group of Cos. purchased Sherman Town Center in the heart of Chicago’s hottest Lake Shore suburb for development, Evanston, Ill.

Editor’s Note:Chain Store Age’s 18th annual survey of Fastest-Growing Acquirers measured retail square footage purchased during the preceding calendar year–2006.

With capitalization rates continuing at record lows, and record high prices for retail real estate, a casual observer really might not expect to see companies acquiring more than 30 million sq. ft. of retail space in a year.

Yet the top two acquirers for 2006 did exactly that, helping to consolidate a still-fragmented open-air business in the United States, and extending their reach outside the country.

And the consolidation shows no sign of slowing down, with a parent of top acquirer Centro Watt already agreeing to buy No. 5-ranked New Plan Excel Realty Trust.

No. 1: Centro Watt

2006 Fastest-Growing Acquirers


Source: Chain Store Age research and company reports
Centro Watt Plymouth Plaza, Pa. 37,481,656 sq. ft.
Kimco Realty Corp. New Hyde Park, N.Y. 36,387,778 sq. ft.
Developers Diversified Realty Beachwood, Ohio 9,888,836 sq. ft.
Inland Real Estate Group of Cos. Oak Brook, Ill. 9,683,258 sq. ft.
New Plan Excel Realty Trust New York, N.Y. 4,358,147 sq. ft.
DLC Management Tarrytown, N.Y. 4,061,700 sq. ft.

Centro Watt placed first among acquiring companies in 2006, and now its co-parent, Melbourne, Australia-based Centro, has announced plans to acquire New Plan Excel Realty Trust.

The 2006 numbers were dominated by Centro Watt’s $3.3-billion purchase of Heritage Property Trust, a transaction that added 22 million sq. ft. of retail space at once.

“The market in the United States is very deep and broad,” said Tony Torney, COO of Philadelphia-based Centro Watt.

Centro Watt also is a joint venture of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Watt Commercial, giving the company fund-ing—and motivation.

“We have a lot of money coming out of the Australian capital markets,” Torney observed. In addition, most of the local institutional-grade assets already are held by owners not looking to sell in the near term. So Centro Watt has looked to the United States, and also is looking in the United Kingdom for quality retail assets.

Centro Watt
Property Acquisitions Completed in 2006


Total for 2006: 7 properties in 6 states, plus Heritage portfolio Source: Chain Store Age research and company reports Properties alphabetized by state.
Heritage REIT Portfolio 157 properties in 27 states 32,500,000 sq. ft.
Eagle Rock Plaza Los Angeles, Calif. 459,717 sq. ft.
Westland Town Center Lakewood, Colo. 533,342 sq. ft.
Enfield Square Enfield, Conn. 798,398 sq. ft.
West Park Mall Cape Girardeau, Mo. 525,328 sq. ft.
Independence Mall Wilmington, N.C. 1,021,423 sq. ft.
Midway Mall Elyria, Ohio 1,110,420 sq. ft.
Richland Mall Richland, Ohio 533,028 sq. ft.
37,481,656 sq. ft.

The company entered the United States early in the decade, largely on the West Coast, then became a major player in the Northeast with its 2005 acquisition of Kramont Realty Trust. And future acquisitions certainly are possible.

“Who knows?” Torney said. “We try to look at every opportunity that makes sense to our investors.”

No. 2: Kimco Realty Trust

Adding 36 million sq. ft. to a portfolio involved more than just buying Pan Pacific Retail Properties. Though that single $4 billion transaction added 138 properties totaling 22.6 million sq. ft. to its list, New Hyde Park, N.Y.-based Kimco Realty Trust used various transaction types to build its portfolio.

“The company has done a good job over the years of buying multiple portfolios,” said David Henry, chief investment officer. “Pan Pacific was the fifth public company we’ve bought since 1998.”

Developers Diversified Realty
Property Acquisitions Completed in 2006


Subtotal (16 properties in 11 states) Subtotal from acquisition of 51 Service Merchandise locations in 24 states Subtotal from acquisition of Brazil portfolio (9 properties) Total for 2006: 76 properties in 30 states and Brazil Source: Chain Store Age research and company reports Properties alphabetized by state.
Riverchase Promenade Birmingham, Ala. 21,774 sq. ft.
Deer Valley Towne Center Phoenix, Ariz. 453,815 sq. ft.
Paseo Colorado Pasadena, Calif. 556,961 sq. ft.
Mervyns San Diego, Calif. 73,872 sq. ft.
Mervyns Valencia, Calif. 77,776 sq. ft.
Flatacres Marketcenter Parker, Colo. 221,520 sq. ft.
Turner Hill Marketplace Lithonia, Ga. 157,175 sq. ft.
McDonough Marketplace McDonough, Ga. 22,658 sq. ft.
Overland Pointe Marketplace Overland Park, Kan. 83,047 sq. ft.
Fairplain Plaza Benton Harbor, Mich. 222,739 sq. ft.
Riverdale Village Coon Rapids, Minn. 33,637 sq. ft.
Tri-County Mall Cincinnati, Ohio 1,336,157 sq. ft.
Township Marketplace Monaca Pa. 46,470 sq. ft.
Frisco Marketplace Frisco, Texas 107,543 sq. ft.
McKinney Marketplace McKinney, Texas 118,967 sq. ft.
The Marketplace at Town Centre Mesquite, Texas 178,925 sq. ft.
3,713,036 sq. ft.
2,748,625 sq. ft.
3,427,175 sq. ft.
9,888,836 sq. ft.

But over time, its acquisition strategy is changing, essentially turning the company into managers for pension funds, Henry said. Kimco’s purchases in the United States are largely for pension funds rather than for its own portfolio, he noted.

When investing its own capital, the company is pursuing more opportunistic deals, increasing its investments in Canada and Mexico, and acquiring property in Mexico for ground-up development.

No. 3: Developers Diversified Realty

Long one of the major consolidators of open-air centers, Developers Diversified Realty continued to be a major purchaser in 2006. Perhaps most interesting, the company took a 50% interest in Sonae Sierra Brazil, giving the company interests in nine malls. In addition, it plans to acquire and develop throughout Brazil, feeding both its development and acquisition pipelines. Many acquisitions this year will be part of its $3 billion joint venture with TIAA-CREF, giving the company a new role, that of a fund manager, as well as an owner.

“That’s how we’re able to do these deals,” said Scott Wolstein, CEO of Beachwood, Ohio-based Developers Diversified Realty.

Already this year, Developers Diversified has closed on a $6 billion, 43.6 million-sq.-ft. acquisition of Inland Retail Real Estate Trust, yet another joint venture with TIAACREF.

No. 4: Inland Real Estate Group of Cos.

Kimco Realty Corp.
Property Acquisitions Completed in 2006


Subtotal (43 properties in 19 states) Subtotal of various properties and portfolios in 10 states Subtotal of Canada acquisitions Subtotal of Puerto Rico acquisitions Subtotal of Mexico acquisitions Subtotal of Pan Pacific acquisition (140 properties in 7 states) Total for 2006: Source: Chain Store Age research and company reports Properties alphabetized by state.
Diamond Shopping Center Anchorage, Alaska 85,163 sq. ft.
Foothills Mall Tucson, Ariz. 503,084 sq. ft.
Cupertino Village Cupertino, Calif. 115,000 sq. ft.
Poway Center Poway, Calif. 16,000 sq. ft.
Tyler Street Plaza Riverside, Calif. 86,000 sq. ft.
Groves at Lakeland Lakeland, Fla. 105,000 sq. ft.
Cypress Lakes Town Center Palm Aire, Fla. 250,000 sq. ft.
Riverwalk Marketplace Duluth, Ga. 78,000 sq. ft.
South Central Shopping Center Moultrie, Ga. 196,589 sq. ft.
Shops at Kildeer Kildeer, Ill. 167,000 sq. ft.
Bridgewood Plaza West Des Moines, Iowa 63,423 sq. ft.
Overland Park Overland Park, Kan. 205,779 sq. ft.
Owensboro Town Center Owensboro, Ky. 156,672 sq. ft.
East Side Plaza Shreveport, La. 78,591 sq. ft.
Mallside Plaza Portland, Maine 91,000 sq. ft.
Long Gate Shopping Center Ellicot City, Md. 433,000 sq. ft.
180 Canal Street Boston, Mass. 30,859 sq. ft.
Boston MBC portfolio Boston, Mass. 748,998 sq. ft.
Haverhill Plaza Haverhill, Mass. 63,203 sq. ft.
The Center at Hobbs Brook Sturbridge, Mass. 231,000 sq. ft.
Fountains at Arbor Lakes Maple Grove, Minn. 407,000 sq. ft.
Windsor Corporate Park East Windsor, N.J. 287,065 sq. ft.
Edgewater Commons Edgewater, N.J. 424,000 sq. ft.
Market at Bay Shore Bay Shore, N.Y. 177,000 sq. ft.
Pathmark Shopping Center Centereach, N.Y. 102,000 sq. ft.
Airport Plaza Farmingdale, N.Y. 448,000 sq. ft.
100 Van Dam Street New York, N.Y. 40,600 sq. ft.
387 Bleeker Street New York, N.Y. 1,349 sq. ft.
625 Broadway New York, N.Y. 83,000 sq. ft.
Hylan Plaza Staten Island, N.Y. 358,000 sq. ft.
Clakamas Promenade Clakamas, Ore. 237,000 sq. ft.
Great Northeast Plaza Philadelphia, Pa. 290,000 sq. ft.
Arboretum and Southbrook Austin, Texas, and Georgetown, Texas 94,651 sq. ft.
Century South Austin, Texas 341,559 sq. ft.
Homestead Shopping Center Austin, Texas 88,829 sq. ft.
Sunset Valley Marketfair Austin, Texas 290,000 sq. ft.
Conroe Marketplace Conroe, Texas 244,000 sq. ft.
Crème de la Crème Coppell, Texas 20,000 sq. ft.
Trinity Mills Dallas, Texas 18,740 sq. ft.
Cottonwood Village Houston,Texas 350,000 sq. ft.
Lake Jackson Marketplace Lake Jackson, Texas 58,106 sq. ft.
Round Rock West Round Rock, Texas 131,039 sq. ft.
Westbank Market West Lake Hills, Texas 138,000sq. ft.
8,334,299 sq. ft.
2,694,631 sq. ft.
2,326,848 sq. ft.
2,150,000 sq. ft.
986,000 sq. ft.
19,896,000 sq. ft.
36,387,778 sq. ft.

Inland Real Estate Group of Cos. dropped from first place among acquirers in 2005 to fourth place a year later, but that does not mean its people weren’t working hard. In fact, they’ve been busier than ever.

“Last year was rather unusual in that we had a much higher percentage of acquisitions that came to us through sellers calling us cold,” said a laughing Joe Cosenza, vice chairman of The Inland Real Estate Group of Cos., Inc., and president of Inland Real Estate Acquisitions, Oak Brook, Ill. “And I’d like to thank each and every one.”

But such transactions are harder on Inland’s staff than buying entire portfolios.

“We might do 200 or 300 a year where others do 100 or even 50.” They’re also a testament to Inland’s success, he added.

“The world woke up to what we’re doing, which is good and bad,” Cosenza said. “It means we’re a step up in people’s eyes, and people want to invest with us.” As of Dec. 31, 2006, The Inland Real Estate Group of Cos., Inc. owned 116 million sq. ft. of retail, as well as industrial and office projects, and undeveloped land.

No. 5: New Plan Excel Realty Trust

In a buyers’ market, sometimes the buyer itself can get bought. A case in point is New Plan Excel Realty Trust. At presstime, New Plan was to be acquired by Melbourne, Australia-based Centro Properties Group, a parent of top-ranking Centro Watt, for $6.2 billion.

During 2006, New Plan added nearly 4.4 million sq. ft. in 15 states for an aggregate investment of $515 million, including $336 million of co-investments, despite low cap rates and competition for the best properties.

“Our access to multiple capital sources and capacity to efficiently source, underwrite and integrate assets on a national basis [given our state-of-the-art national infrastructure] has become increasingly important given the highly competitive market for our property type,” said Stacy Slater, senior VP of corporate communications.

Transactions included acquisitions of neighborhood and community centers in Tennessee, Illinois and Texas, among other states, both individually and in partnership.

At presstime, the acquisition by Centro was expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2007.

Inland Real Estate Group of Cos.
Property Acquisitions Completed in 2006


Total for 2006: 71 properties in 26 states Source: Chain Store Age research and company reports Properties alphabetized by state.
Northwood Crossing Tuscaloosa, Ala. 148,749 sq. ft.
Yuma Palms Regional Center Yuma, Ariz. 496,224 sq. ft.
Pacheco Pass Phase II Gilroy, Calif. 95,036 sq. ft.
Stop & Shop Southington, Conn. 64,948 sq. ft.
Lakewood Shopping Center Phase I Margate, Fla. 149,077 sq. ft.
Walter’s Crossing Shopping Center Tampa, Fla. 126,912 sq. ft.
Eastwynn Theatres, Inc. Athens, Ga. 52,990 sq. ft.
Old Time Pottery Douglasville, Ga. 110,174 sq. ft.
Battle Ridge Pavilion Powder Springs, Ga. 103,517 sq. ft.
The Plaza at Eagles Landing Stockbridge, Ga. 33,266 sq. ft.
Algonquin Commons Algonquin, Ill. 565,000 sq. ft.
Fabyan Randall Plaza Batavia, Ill. 91,395 sq. ft.
Lincoln Village Chicago, Ill. 138,962 sq. ft.
Discovery Clothing Co. Glendale Heights, Ill. 10,000 sq. ft.
TSA Stores, Inc. Glendale Heights, Ill. 42,000 sq. ft.
Ulta Cosmetics & Salon Glendale Heights, Ill. 8,820 sq. ft.
Shops of Sherman Plaza Evanston, Ill. 152,264 sq. ft.
Ravinia Plaza Orland Park, Ill. 101,384 sq. ft.
State Street Market Rockford, Ill. 193,657 sq. ft.
Wauconda Crossings Wauconda, Ill. 90,290 sq. ft.
East Lloyd Commons Evansville, Ind. 159,681 sq. ft.
Honey Creek Commons Terre Haute, Ind. 179,100 sq. ft.
Stop & Shop Framingham, Mass. 64,917 sq. ft.
Stop & Shop Malden, Mass. 79,229 sq. ft.
Stop & Shop Swampscott, Mass. 65,268 sq. ft.
Bangor Parkade Shopping Center Bangor, Maine 232,764 sq. ft.
The Centre at Laurel Laurel, Md. 157,909 sq. ft.
Walgreens Drug Store Westland, Mich. 13,905 sq. ft.
Big Lake Town Square Big Lake, Minn. 67,835 sq. ft.
Apache Shoppes Rochester, Minn. 60,780 sq. ft.
Shakopee Center Shakopee, Minn. 103,442 sq. ft.
The Shoppes at Grayhawk Omaha, Neb. 226,720 sq. ft.
Monadnock Marketplace Keene, N.H. 200,775 sq. ft.
Greenwich Center Phillipsburg, N.J. 186,520 sq. ft.
Giant Foods Sicklerville, N.J. 68,323 sq. ft.
Stop & Shop Hyde Park, N.Y. 52,500 sq. ft.
Pavilion at King’s Grant Phase II Concord, N.C. 142,471 sq. ft
Patterson Place Shopping Center Durham, N.C. 161,017 sq. ft.
Harper Hill Commons Winston-Salem, N.C. 96,914 sq. ft.
Canfield Plaza Canfield, Ohio 100,949 sq. ft.
Stringtown Crossing Grove City, Ohio 143,938 sq. ft.
Market at Hilliard Shopping Center Hilliard, Ohio 107,544 sq. ft.
The Stack at the Waterfront Homestead, Pa. 29,825 sq. ft.
Stop & Shop Bristol, R.I. 63,128 sq. ft.
Stop & Shop Cumberland, R.I. 85,799 sq. ft.
Lincoln Mall Lincoln, R.I. 439,132 sq. ft.
BI-LO Greenville, S.C. 55,718 sq. ft.
The Shops at the Point Greenville, S.C. 104,645 sq. ft.
Plaza at Carolina Forest Myrtle Beach, S.C. 124,437 sq. ft.
East Stone Commons Shopping Center Kingsport, Tenn. 272,145 sq. ft.
Crockett Square Shopping Center Morristown, Tenn. 107,122 sq. ft.
Crossroads Square Morristown, Tenn. 70,000 sq. ft.
Willowbrook Commons Nashville, Tenn. 93,600 sq. ft.
South Towne Crossing Burleson, Texas 59,986 sq. ft.
Rivery Town Crossing Georgetown, Texas 74,456 sq. ft.
Eldridge Lakes Town Center Houston, Texas 35,480 sq. ft.
CyFair Town Center Houston, Texas 47,520 sq. ft.
New Forest Crossing Shopping Center Phase II Houston, Texas 26,680 sq. ft.
Hunting Bayou Shopping Center Jacinto City, Texas 133,165 sq. ft.
Lake Worth Towne Crossing Lake Worth, Texas 239,761 sq. ft.
Craig Crossing McKinney, Texas 123,216 sq. ft.
Brooks Corner Shopping Center San Antonio, Texas 166,205 sq. ft.
Sherman Town Center Sherman, Texas 353,621 sq. ft.
Southlake Corners Southlake, Texas 135,128 sq. ft.
Spring Town Center Spring, Texas 40,571sq. ft.
Colony Square Sugar Land, Texas 435,268 sq. ft.
Riverpark Shopping Center Sugar Land, Texas 308,405 sq. ft.
Central Texas Marketplace Waco, Texas 525,906 sq. ft.
Hollywood Entertainment Virginia Beach, Va. 7,488 sq. ft.
Walgreens Drug Store Oshkosh, Wis. 13,905 sq. ft.
Pick’n Save Shopping Center Waupaca, Wis. 63,780 sq. ft.
9,683,258 sq. ft.

No. 6: DLC Management Corp.

Its niches may be narrow, but they are deep—deep enough for Tarrytown, N.Y.-based DLC Management Corp. to acquire 4 million sq. ft. of retail space last year (at a combined price tag of $355 million), enough for it to rank sixth on this year’s list.

Those niches are open-air centers in older markets with ethnic diversity that need just a bit of help, and centers in university towns.

“We don’t buy the Triple-A’s, and we don’t buy the C centers and down,” explained Adam Ifshin, president. “We’re operating in this space that a lot of people don’t understand, or have the ability to proceed operationally once they get a project.”

Among its transactions last year were a 10-center acquisition from Edens & Avant, and individual projects through the year.

“We look at every asset and ask, ‘Can we do a unique business plan that will get us the returns we want?’” Ifshin said. The company regularly assesses its capabilities, and literally has a playbook for each stage of future growth.

That’s particularly critical now that the company is adding a new focus—ground-up development. The company formed a development division in 2006, and plans more than $100 million in new projects this year.

New Plan Excel Realty Trust
Property Acquisitions Completed in 2006


Total for 2006: 24 properties in 11 states Source: Chain Store Age research and company reports Properties alphabetized by state.
Springdale Mobile, Ala. 612,616 sq. ft.
Fox Run Mall Glastonbury, Conn. 97,086 sq. ft.
Ventura Downs Kissimmee, Fla. 98,191 sq. ft.
Fashion Square Orange Park, Fla. 36,029 sq. ft.
Cobblestone Village Royal Palm Beach, Fla. 33,207 sq. ft.
Tyrone Gardens St. Petersburg, Fla. 209,337 sq. ft.
Building at Tarpon Mall Tarpon Springs, Fla. 6,580 sq. ft.
Augusta West Plaza Augusta, Ga. 187,823 sq. ft.
Conyers Plaza Conyers, Ga. 171,478 sq. ft.
Banks Station Fayetteville, Ga. 176,451 sq. ft.
The Quentin Collection Kildeer, Ill. 171,179 sq. ft.
Marketplace at Matteson Matteson, Ill. 309,864 sq. ft.
Chicopee Marketplace Chicopee, Mass. 121,420 sq. ft.
Greatwoods Marketplace Norton, Mass. 117,827 sq. ft.
Wakefield Commons Raleigh, N.C. 160,949 sq. ft.
Wilkes-Barre Township Marketplace Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 307,610 sq. ft.
Shoppes at Hickory Hollow Antioch, Tenn. 144,469 sq. ft.
Building at Hazel Path Hendersonville, Tenn. 94,977 sq. ft.
Memphis Commons Memphis, Tenn. 336,638 sq. ft.
Shelby Square Memphis, Tenn. 155,969 sq. ft.
Parmer Crossing Austin, Texas 169,517 sq. ft.
Odessa-Winwood Town Center Odessa, Texas 343,603 sq. ft.
Baybrook Gateway Webster, Texas 236,854 sq. ft.
Building at Westpark Shopping Center Glen Allen, Va. 58,473 sq. ft.
4,358,147 sq. ft.

DLC Management
Property Acquisitions Completed in 2006


Total for 2006: 20 properties in 11 states Source: Chain Store Age research and company reports Properties alphabetized by state.
Centre at Riverchase Birmingham, Ala. 132,734 sq. ft.
Florence Square Florence, Ala. 239,516 sq. ft.
Tri-City Plaza Vernon, Conn. 300,038 sq. ft.
Amelia Plaza Fernandina Beach, Fla. 91,727 sq. ft.
Five Forks Corner Lilburn, Ga. 88,646 sq. ft.
Tree Trail Village Norcross, Ga. 99,236 sq. ft.
Riverdale Crossing Riverdale, Ga. 92,786 sq. ft.
Indian Creek Crossing Stone Mountain, Ga. 63,650 sq. ft.
Rockbridge Place Stone Mountain, Ga. 71,268 sq. ft.
Northland Plaza DeKalb, Ill. 297,438 sq. ft.
Highland Plaza Highland, Ill. 107,021 sq. ft.
Eastover Plaza Oxon Hill, Md. 260,092 sq. ft.
Namco Plaza Seekonk, Mass. 101,782 sq. ft.
East Park Plaza Lincoln, Neb. 212,655 sq. ft.
East Park Shopper’s Fair Lincoln, Neb. 67,07 sq. ft.
Akers Center Gastonia, N.C. 240,957 sq. ft.
Midtown Plaza Parma, Ohio 241,223 sq. ft.
Fort Steuben Mall Steubenville, Ohio 823,353 sq. ft.
Salem Consumer Square Trotwood, Ohio 274,652 sq. ft.
Winchester Court Memphis, Tenn. 255,853 sq. ft.
4,061,700 sq. ft.