Macerich Enters Chicago Market with $515M Buy

Macerich Co., in partnership with the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. (APFC), has acquired one of the more prominent retail properties on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, the 680,000-square foot Shops at North Bridge, for $515 million. The deal represents Santa Monica, Calif.-based Macerich’s first move into the Chicago market.”We look for best-in-market properties, and when the opportunity arises, we jump on an acquisition like this,” Chris Facas, vice president of asset management for Macerich, told CPN this morning. “Chicago has been a vacancy in our portfolio for a long time.”The seller was a partnership comprised of the John Buck Co., the Morgan Stanley real estate funds and Westfield Group. Chicago-based John Buck developed the property, completing it in 2000. The Shops at North Bridge (pictured) is anchored by Nordstrom and includes about 50 specialty retailers and 20 restaurants, with a current occupancy of nearly 95 percent. The sale also includes two parking garages totaling about 1,200 spaces, and about 133,000 square feet of office space.As part of the deal, Macerich and APFC assumed the $205 million balance of the existing loan at an interest rate of 4.67 percent, maturing in July 2009. The acquisition is the second JV for the two entities. Macerich and APFC also co-own a regional shopping center, Tysons Corner Center, in Fairfax County, Va.APFC manages the investments of the Alaska Permanent Fund, which was created in 1976 to save a portion of the state’s oil revenue. The fund is currently worth about $39 billion, and holds a wide spectrum of assets, including real estate. In the fall of 2007, a dividend of $1,654 each were paid by the fund to more than 600,000 Alaskans.