Dallas investor Centennial Real Estate makes billion-dollar mall buy

A Dallas real estate investment company has made one of the largest shopping center buys in the country this year, acquiring five regional malls in a deal valued at more than $1 billion. Centennial Real Estate Co. teamed up with USAA Real Estate and Montgomery Street Partners to purchase the malls from Australia-based Westfield Corp.

The purchase includes shopping centers in California, Illinois, Connecticut and Washington State.
“These are excellent malls – high quality regional centers in major markets,” said Steven Levin, Centennial Real Estate’s chief executive officer. “They are in irreplaceable locations where you can’t build today. “They provide a tremendous opportunity for us.”

The shopping centers contain more than 6 million square feet of space and are 97 percent leased. Levin said previous owner Westfield made significant upgrades to the properties but decided to reduce its U.S. holdings.

“We started working with them about a year ago,” Levin said. “This sale took a long time.”

The acquisition marks a huge increase in activity for Centennial, which has been in business since 1997. The company already owned two shopping malls in Colorado and California.

In the Dallas area, Centennial owns smaller shopping centers in Allen, Richardson, Colleyville, Flower Mound, Dallas and Mesquite. Levin said the shopping malls the firm just purchased have already made the transition for a new generation of shoppers.

“Malls are not just about shopping anymore,” he said. “The really good malls are also about dining, entertainment, fitness and a variety of uses to make people go there. “These are malls that have been really well maintained and brought into the current evolution of where the business is going.”

He said its Centennial’s first such deal with San Antonio-based USAA Real Estate.

“They are spectacular financial partners and we hope to do more with them.”

Read more here.