Westfield America, Inc. partners eith JP Morgan Fleming Asset Management on flagship property – the companies form joint venture in Westfield Shoppingtown Montgomery
22 May 2001
Countries: United States
Los Angeles, CA, May 22, 2001 – Westfield America, Inc. (NYSE: WEA) announced today that it has formed a joint venture with JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management Inc. for one of Westfield’s premier regional shopping malls: Westfield Shoppingtown Montgomery in Bethesda, Maryland. The mall has a value of approximately $281 million (approximately $123 million net of debt), and The J. P. Morgan Strategic Property Fund has acquired a 50 percent interest in the joint venture.
“The joint venture of Westfield Shoppingtown Montgomery with JPMorgan Fleming expands on a relationship initiated in June 1999 when they acquired 50% interests in the Westfield Shoppingtown Valley Fair, in San Jose, California and UTC in La Jolla, California,” said Peter Lowy, CEO of Westfield America. “This joint venture will enable us to reduce debt and free up capital to finance future growth of the Company.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to invest in a premier shopping center on the East Coast and continue our relationship with a first-class regional mall operator,” said Justin Murphy, Vice President of JPMorgan Fleming. “The center is a leader in its market and offers some of the most attractive demographics in the East Coast. We believe that this transaction will provide our investors with attractive long-term returns and represents a continuing expansion of our national retail investment program.”
A super regional shopping mall with 1,101,000 square feet, Westfield Shoppingtown Montgomery opened in 1968 and is anchored by Nordstrom, Hecht’s and Sears. It has 173 specialty stores. Total sales in 2000 at the Shoppingtown were approximately $395 million, with specialty stores sales of $484 per square foot.
A $19 million redevelopment is currently underway at the center including relocation by The May Company of its Hecht’s Home Store to the second level of the former JCPenney Department Store space and the conversion of the first level into an Old Navy and a number of new specialty stores.
Westfield America, Inc. (NYSE: WEA), a real estate investment trust, is one of the nation’s leading owners of regional shopping centers. The Company owns interests in 39 major shopping centers, branded as Westfield Shoppingtowns. Westfield Shoppingtowns are home to more than 5,000 specialty stores, serve 10% of the U.S. population and comprise 37.7 million square feet of leasable space in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Washington.
As a part of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management is a global asset management leader providing world-class investment solutions to corporations, governments, institutions, endowments, foundations and individuals. With over $608 billion in global assets under management, JPMorgan Fleming offers global reach, local presence, and product leadership in every asset class for defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, segregated accounts, proprietary and third party mutual funds, and high net worth individuals. Its 30-year history of successful investing and more than 80 real estate professionals who manage both private and public real estate portfolios evidence JPMorgan Fleming’s commitment to real estate. JPMorgan Fleming’s broad investment capabilities and framework for analyzing opportunities in today’s complex real estate markets provides critical insights for its institutional clients. Real estate research at JPMorgan Fleming draws on the work of economists, capital markets researchers, equity analysts, and fixed income specialists with strategic investment decisions being derived from all inputs.
With the exception of the historical information, the matters discussed in this press release include forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may vary substantially as a result of a variety of factors. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ are the effects of competition; unforeseen construction risks; changes in capital markets; trends in the retail industry; and geographic locations of shopping centers. These and other risk factors are discussed in Westfield America, Inc.’s recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Forms 8-K, 10-Q and 10-K. The reader is directed to these reports for a further discussion of important factors, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.