QIC has consolidated its presence in the US real estate market by investing in a US$3.18bn (€2.71bn) portfolio and taking over an operating platform.

The Australian investment manager has acquired additional interests in 10 shopping malls from its existing joint venture partner Forest City Enterprises, on behalf of what it described as a “major Australian client”.

The deal is part of master agreement that includes transferring the operating platform of Forest City and key personnel to QIC.

QIC first entered into a joint venture with Forest City, which specialises in US retail property, in 2013.

Steve Leigh, managing director of global real estate at QIC, said: “We are building off more than a decade of amassing market intelligence and understanding in the US retail sector.

“We view the US real estate market and the retail sector in particular as a strong investment opportunity. We are encouraged by the broader economic conditions in the US and the resilience of the consumer as demonstrated by continuing strength in the underlying fundamentals for the portfolio.

“We understand the importance of regional malls to their local communities and have the capability and the capital to evolve these assets into multi-faceted destinations.”

The deal means Forest City has exited the retail property sector, having sold its remaining retail portfolio in New York and New Jersey to Madison International Realty earlier this year.

David LaRue, president and CEO of Forest City, said the latest transaction was “a win-win for all parties”, and his company would continue to focus on residential, office and mixed-use assets.

The transaction with QIC will be completed in two tranches with the transfer of interests in the first six malls expected to complete by the end of the year.

The assets in the first tranche include The Shops at Northfield Stapleton in Denver, Colorado; Westchester’s Ridge Hill in Yonkers, New York; The Shops at Wiregrass in Tampa, Florida; The Mall at Robinson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale, California; and South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach, California.

QIC has an option over four malls in the second tranche: Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, California; Galleria at Sunset in Henderson, Nevada; Promenade Temecula in Temecula, California; and Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Virginia.