By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Miami—Staying on point with its goal of paring down its joint ventures, Kimco Realty Corp. has taken full ownership of the Oakwood Plaza shopping center and the Dania Pointe mixed-use development project in Hollywood, Fla. The shopping center REIT acquired the remaining 45 percent stake in the assets from joint venture partner Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in a $299.2 million transaction.
The largest publicly traded owner and operator of open-air shopping centers, Kimco has been pursuing a strategy that will retool its portfolio, and that strategy includes simplifying its ownership structure by obtaining the remaining interest in certain assets owned in joint ventures.
“Kimco has been fortunate to have partnered with a number of first class institutions over the years,” David Bujnicki, senior vice president, Investor Relations and Strategy, told Commercial Property Executive. “Originally, we utilized the joint venture model as a source of capital because our JV partner’s cost of capital was much lower than our own. Over the last few years, Kimco’s strong balance sheet has resulted in a lower cost of capital for the company enabling us to buy more assets on our own balance sheet and simplify our business model through the reduction in the number of properties in JV’s while focusing on being a pure-play U.S. owner of open air shopping centers.”
Kimco and Oakwood came into ownership of Oakwood Plaza and Dania Pointe through the joint venture they formed in 2010 for the purpose of acquiring premier neighborhood shopping centers across the U.S. The partners launched the joint venture with a $370 million investment that included five Kimco properties, one of which was Oakwood Plaza. The 900,000-square-foot Oakwood Plaza is an open-air shopping center that is presently fully occupied, with the likes of Home Depot and BJ’s occupying anchor space. Kimco paid CPPIB $115 million for the asset and assumed $100 million of mortgage debt as well.
The REIT picked up the mixed-use Dania Pointe project, originally Dania Live, in the fourth quarter of 2014, and immediately contributed it to the joint venture. The price tag on the 108-acre property: $65.6 million. Dania Pointe will be built from the ground up and ultimately feature approximately 900,000 square feet of retail space, 1,000 luxury apartments, two hotels encompassing 300 guestrooms and two office towers. Construction of the first phase of the development will commence this fall and yield a 318,000-square-foot open-air power center.
As part of the transformation of its portfolio, Kimco has also been disposing of its stake in assets that don’t fit its strategy. “Last year, we completed the sales of our last properties in Mexico and South America as well as deciding to exit Canada, which was principally due to all our Canadian assets being own in various JV’s managed by our partner,” said Bujnicki. Recently, Kimco sold interests in seven shopping centers in the Truth North for $322.9 million.
“By exiting these geographies and redeploying the capital into the U.S. into assets we own and operate ourselves, Kimco controls its own destiny, eliminates the currency risk and can expand value for its shareholders,” Bujnicki added.
Kimco began focusing on the reduction of its joint ventures in 2010, and many of the REIT’s co-owners have been accommodating of its pursuits. “Most of Kimco’s JV partners understand our strategy, with a number of them agreeing to either sell the properties to us or jointly in the open market,” noted Bujnicki. “The properties we’ve purchased from our partners have been at prices that fairly benefit both parties.”
Through the acquisition of asset interests over the last few years, Kimco has decreased its number of joint venture-owned properties from 551 at the close of 2010 to just 147 at year-end 2015, marking a 73 percent reduction.