CalPERS, First Washington ‘buy back’ malls for $463m

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and a JV partner have purchased a majority stake in a portfolio of shopping centers it sold four years ago. The deal indicates CalPERS propensity for core income yielding property.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and JV partner First Washington Realty, have bought a stake in a portfolio of 86 shopping centres valuing it at $1.73 billion.

The investment partners are buying a 60 percent interest in a portfolio, including many shopping centres sold in 2005 to Macquarie CountryWide Trust of Australia, for a price reflecting $2.74 billion, said CalPERS.e

In the 2005 deal, the JV sold 100 properties to Macquarie which took a 75 percent stake, and Florida-based Regency Centers Corporation, which acquired a 25 percent ownership. 

According to a statement by CalPERS, the pension is paying $463 million. Regency Centers is retaining its 25 percent interest in the portfolio.

The package includes sixteen grocery store-anchored shopping centres in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego metropolitan areas of California.

“People will always need to go to the supermarket, which make these properties recession-hardy as well as valuable in periods of economic growth,” said Ted Eliopoulos, senior investment officer at the retirement plan. It’s a great example of opportunities opening up for us, and a preview of what our program will look like as we pursue even more core, cash-yielding properties at attractive prices.”

The $185 billion pension has been trying to combat heavy losses in their private equity and real estate holdings over the past year.

In July it reported a 36 percent fall in its real estate holdings over the 12-month period ending 31 March. CalPERS saw a total decline in the value of its assets of 23.4 percent over the 12-month period ending 30 June, 2009. “It was the most severe single year decline,” the pension said in a statement.