December 22, 2011
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Continuing its capital-recycling strategy and the refocusing of its portfolio, Equity One Inc. has completed the sale of a 3.9 million-square-foot shopping-center portfolio to Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII in a transaction valued at $473.1 million, including the assumption of approximately $177.4 million of debt.
The 36 properties, most of which are anchored by Publix grocery stores, span seven states, with the majority of the assets located in metropolitan Atlanta, Tampa and Orlando. The remaining shopping centers are concentrated in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Maryland.
The disposition of the assets dovetails with the retail REIT’s goal of retreating from non-strategic assets and expanding its presence in its targeted markets of Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco.
The sale also fits with company plans for addressing debt. “We currently expect to use to $80 million to $100 million of the proceeds from the Blackstone sale to pay down amounts outstanding on the line by the end of the year,” Mark Langer, Equity One executive vice president and CFO, said during the retail REIT’s third-quarter earnings call in November.
Equity One relied on Lazard Freres & Co. L.L.C. to serve as financial advisor on the transaction, while Blackstone turned to Eastdil Secured.