UNITED STATES - Heitman, the real estate asset manager, has formed a joint venture with Macerich, the US shopping centre owner, and bought a major stake in two US regional shopping centres.

Heitman has taken a 49.9% stake in the Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, New Jersey, which is 1.6 million square feet in size (90,000m2) and in the 1.3 million s.f. (92,900sm2) Chandler Fashion Center in Chandler, Arizona, at a cost of $167m (€113m).

Maury Tognarelli, chief  executive at Heitman, said on both the properties and Macerich: "We believe the properties in the JV are dominate assets in their markets and will hold their market share as the economy starts to improve over the next couple of years.

He continued: "And this company holds one of the strongest retail portfolios in the country. While this is out first direct joint venture with them, we hope it won't be our last."

Heitman made its investments in the retail property for two different accounts that it manages: the Heitman America Real Estate Trust, which raised some of its equity from a sovereign wealth fund as a separate account client, and the American Real Trust.

The ART is a core open-ended commingled fund which invests in office, industrial, retail and apartments across the US and has managed capital for major US pension funds in that time. These include $200m from Teacher Retirement System of Texas, $100m each from New Jersey Division of Investment and Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System and $38m from Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund.