Rouse Co., partner acquiring Fla. project

Developer continues shift to properties that cater to the affluent

December 17, 2003|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

The Rouse Co. said yesterday that it has agreed to buy an office, retail and residential project in Boca Raton, Fla., with a partner for about $137 million to add to its properties that serve upscale areas.

Rouse and a client of ING Clarion will be equal partners in the office and retail client components of the Mizner Park complex, Rouse said. Rouse's partner, an institutional investor, asked not to be identified, said Suzanne Franks, a spokeswoman for New York-based ING Clarion.

"Boca Raton is a thoughtfully developed community with very affluent residents and visitors, and with a solid and growing business base," Rouse Chief Executive Officer Anthony W. Deering said in a statement. The average household income in Boca Raton is more than $114,000, Rouse said.

Columbia-based Rouse is the nation's third-largest shopping mall owner and operates more than 150 properties in at least 22 states. Last month, it raised $350 million by selling notes at its lowest interest rate ever.

Rouse has been shifting its portfolio to focus on properties that cater to upscale areas. Last year it opened a $285 million Mediterranean-type shopping mall in Coral Gables, a wealthy suburb of Miami.

Rouse's share of the purchase price of Mizner Park is about $52.1 million, split about equally between the office and retail components. ING Clarion's client will solely own the residential parts of the project. The purchase price for those entities is $32.6 million, Rouse said.

Mizner Park includes two six-story buildings with 57,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 136 apartments, two three-story buildings with 100,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and 104,000 square feet of office space, and a seven-story office tower with 164,000 square feet of office space.

Rouse shares rose 45 cents to $45.90 on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. They are up 45 percent this year.

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