GLOBAL - TIAA-CREF and APG have joined forces to invest in dominant 'super-regional' shopping malls in major US markets.

The US and Dutch institutional investors have acquired interests in four assets with mall operator CBL & Associates Properties and one with Westfield Group.

The five large shopping centres represent a total of 5.8m square feet of retail space and have a gross valuation of more than $1.5bn (€1.1bn).

US financial services firm TIAA-CREF has taken a majority stake (51%) in the joint venture, with Dutch pensions asset manager APG assuming the balance.

TIAA-CREF said the deal was part of its ongoing strategy to manage assets in partnership with "sophisticated global investors from around the world".
Scott Kempton, managing director for global real estate portfolio management, said: "This relationship demonstrates the strength of our global real estate platform and our ability to partner with leading institutional investors to seek what we see as the most attractive real estate assets in the market today.

"This venture will allow us to continue to capitalise on opportunities we see in the super-regional mall sector."

Super-regional malls are defined by the International Council of Shopping Centers in the US as shopping centres with more than 800,000 square feet of gross leasable area, three or more anchor tenants and a primary trade area of 5-25 miles.

Kempton added: "We see dominant regional malls as being an important part of a well-diversified real estate portfolio, with the ability to provide durable income streams and long-term value."

Steven Hason, managing director and co-head of Americas real estate at APG, said: "This partnership with TIAA-CREF combines the strength of two global investment platforms to pursue dominant US mall assets with best-in-class operators.

"The venture is a continuation of APG's strategy to invest with partners that have similar long-term investment objectives and the right mix of demonstrated management capabilities coupled with exceptional alignment of interests."

Hanson added: "Following recent acquisitions in Europe, this joint venture enables us to expand and complement our global portfolio of leading shopping centre destinations."