First Washington Realty, a US retail real estate-focused investment manager backed by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), has paid $485m (€435m) for a five-property portfolio, according to sources.

Late last week, First Washington Realty announced the acquisition of the 800,000sqft grocery-anchored centres located in the Washington, DC metro area from WashREIT for an undisclosed sum.

According to sources, this transaction represents one of the largest grocery-anchored shopping centre portfolios to be sold in the US this year and comes at a time when many pension funds and other institutional investors are looking to maintain underweight positions to the retail sector.

The assets include Bradlee Shopping Center, Shoppes at Foxchase, Gateway Overlook, Olney Village Center and Wheaton Park Shopping Center.

The portfolio had a weighted-average occupancy of 96.4% through the second quarter of this year.

Alex Nyhan, CEO of First Washington, said: “The purchase of these properties represents a terrific opportunity in our own backyard. We started in the Mid-Atlantic and have long sought to own these wonderful centres.”