Developers Diversified, Cole Form JV for Missouri Shopping Center

Developers Diversified Realty Corp. has formed a $62 million joint venture with Cole Real Estate Investments for the ownership of Independence Commons, a 386,000-square-foot shopping center in Independence, Mo. The joint venture will be owned 85.5 percent by Cole Real Estate Investments, and 14.5 percent by DDR. According to the terms of the joint venture agreement, DDR will receive leasing and property management fees. DDR previously owned Independence Commons through its joint venture with Macquarie DDR Trust (MDT). MDT will receive proceeds of more than $20 million from the sale of the property, based on its 85.5 percent interest in the shopping center. DDR also announced that construction of Bloomfield Park, a 600,000-square-foot mixed-use lifestyle center in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., has been suspended. The property is being developed through a joint venture of DDR and Coventry Real Estate Fund II. Coventry Real Estate Fund II was formed with equity capital commitments from several institutional investors. In a statement, DDR said Coventry is responsible for providing 80 percent of the equity required to complete the project, but said it has not committed to fund additional capital for the project. Developers Diversified said it has elected to suspend construction until the sources of capital necessary to fund the $350 million development. On November 5, Fitch Ratings downgraded DDR’s rating outlook from stable to negative. In its report, Fitch Ratings noted some positives about DDR, such as the 94.5 percent occupancy level in its portfolio, as well as its lease expiration schedule, which Fitch called manageably staggered. But, Fitch said the negative outlook revolves around DDR’s high leverage ratios, and a liquidity shortfall.