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MetLife makes Florida retail buy

The real estate investment arm of the US insurer has purchased The Loop in Kissimmee from an institutional client of AEW for approximately $120 million.

MetLife Real Estate Investors has acquired The Loop, an outdoor retail center in Kissimmee, Florida, from an undisclosed institutional client of AEW Capital Management. The real estate arm of the Morristown, New Jersey-based insurer paid approximately $120 million for the property, according to a source familiar with the situation. HFF brokered the sale.

AEW first purchased the property in March 2006 for $104.9 million on behalf of the investor, according to data from Real Capital Analytics. MetLife provided financing at the time in the form of a $68.3 million mortgage.

“MetLife is further diversifying its real estate equity holdings by adding a high-quality retail outlet such as The Loop to our portfolio,” said Robert Merck, senior managing director and global head of real estate for MetLife, in a statement. “We look forward to adding more such assets to our portfolio in the future.”

The Loop is located on nearly 57 acres and totals 435,000 square feet. Built in 2005, the property is 99 percent leased and has 43 tenants, including CVS Caremark, Kohl's, Michaels Stores, Petco, Regal Cinemas and The Sports Authority.

“The Loop is one of Florida's most successful retail destinations,” said Danny Finkle, HFF senior managing director, in a statement. “The combination of location, design and tenant performance made The Loop one of the highest quality retail investment opportunities in the Southeast.”

The transaction the latest in a constant stream of deals for MetLife as it builds and diversifies its US portfolio. Last month, the firm’s joint venture with Norges Bank Investment Management, the manager of Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, reached approximately $2.26 billion with the purchase of One Beacon Street in Boston for $565 million. Earlier in July, MetLife divulged plans to expand its US industrial portfolio, pursuing an investment drive with Panattoni Development to build a total of up to six million square feet of industrial space over the next few years.