QIC, Forest City Enter JV for Westchester Regional Mall

One of Australia's largest institutional investment managers has acquired a majority stake in the 1.3 million-square-foot Ridge Hill mall, extending its joint venture with Forest City.

By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor

Steven Leigh, QIC
Steven Leigh, Managing Director, QIC

Leading Australian investor QIC Global Real Estate has extended its existing joint venture relationship with Forest City Realty Trust with the acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Westchester’s Ridge Hill retail shopping center, a 1.3-million-square-foot mall developed by Forest City in Yonkers, N.Y., for approximately $90 million.

The transaction also includes a provision under which Forest City has the opportunity to receive additional proceeds based on the center’s future performance.

“We’ve been looking at this mall for several years and been working on this deal for the past 12 months,” Steven Leigh, QIC Global Real Estate’s managing director, told CPE. “It’s a very large mall and is going through its maturing phase, but also has a lot of entitlements that allow for additional development potential.”

Westchester’s Ridge Hill is situated approximately 15 miles north of midtown Manhattan between Interstate 87 and Sprain Brook Parkway.

At the time of the acquisition, the mall was approximately 85-percent occupied. The mall is anchored by Lord & Taylor, Whole Foods Market, Legoland Discovery Center, The Cheesecake Factory, Dick’s Sporting Goods, REI, Showcase Cinema and approximately 70 specialty stores. It also just signed a new lease with Lowe’s Home Improvement.

This deal marks QIC’s 11th acquisition on behalf of its clients. Last year, it acquired a 100 percent stake in The Shops at Tanforan shopping center in San Bruno, Calif., and assisted AustralianSuper in acquiring a 25 percent stake in Honolulu’s Ala Moana Shopping Center.

“We’ve been targeting A- malls across the country and this further diversifies our existing U.S. retail property portfolio, giving us a unique opportunity to take a strategic stake in a quality retail asset within a tightly held institutional asset class, and provide even further geographic exposure to the East Coast,” Leigh said.

In addition to Ridge Hill, Forest City currently has joint ventures with QIC at eight other regional malls valued at about $2.05 billion: Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Charleston Town Center in Charleston, W.Va.; Mall at Robinson near Pittsburgh; Promenade in Temecula, Calif.; Galleria at Sunset in Henderson, Nev.; Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale, Calif.a; Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Va.; and South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, Calif.

“Our strategic joint ventures with QIC have been a great success to date, as seen in the strong performance of our mall portfolio,” David J. LaRue, Forest City’ president & CEO, said in a prepared release. “Expanding the joint ventures to include Westchester’s Ridge Hill now, as well as the expected additions later this year of Ballston Quarter (formerly Ballston Common Mall) and The Shops at Wiregrass, is a natural extension of this mutually beneficial relationship.”

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