REAL ESTATE - Pramerica Real Estate Investors has signed a contract to form a joint venture with Cousins Properties to invest in retail properties.

The deal – involving five Cousins properties - could be approved by the end of the month.

Both parties have agreed that the properties have an aggregate value of $342.4m (€266m).

This could be changed by an increase of $20.5m if certain conditions are met with Viera MarketCenter and the Avenue West Cobb. Both of these centers are now under construction.

Pramerica Real Estate will be making an initial investment to the venture of $300m.

This could be increased by another $21m in the future. The first payment of $100m could be made as early as June 1.

Pramerica’s managing director of transactions, Dale Taysom, said: “We think that this transaction allows us to own lifestyle shopping centers leased to tenants that would also occupy space in high quality regional malls.

“For us, it’s very difficult to acquire the top-tier regional malls. These assets are owned by public companies and the only way to participate in these properties is to buy stock in the companies that own them.”