Columbia-based Edens Investment Trust is purchasing AmReit, headquartered in Houston, Texas, in a $762 million deal, according to a release.
The all-cash deal, worth $26.55 per share, will allow Edens - a major East Coast shopping center developer with its headquarters on Columbia’s Main Street - to expand west.
Edens owns a $4.2 billion portfolio of urban retail centers, including Whole Foods-anchored Cross Hill Market on Fort Jackson Boulevard and Trenholm Plaza in Forest Acres. The company also has regional headquarters in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Miami.
The purchase will help Edens diversify its shopping center portfolio taking advantage of Texas’ growing energy market, Edens CEO Terry Brown told The State, and serve as a platform for further growth in the Lone Star State.
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“It’s definitely a good strategic fit for us,” he said. “Energy, health care, technology and education are the drivers of this economy, and we want retail exposure to all those markets.”
Brown noted that Dallas and Houston each grew by 600,000 people over the past five years, and Houston is expected to add 95,000 jobs by 2017.
“The energy market will be very vibrant in Houston in the next five years,” he said.
The announcement comes about three months after AmReit rejected a buyout offer from Jacksonville, Fla.-based Regency Centers Corp. for $22 per share, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“This is an outstanding outcome for our stockholders, who will receive in cash a premium value for their shares reflecting the irreplaceable characteristics of our portfolio of properties,” Kerr Taylor, AmReit’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in the release.
The company’s existing properties are strategically concentrated in five of the top metropolitan markets in the southern U.S.: Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Atlanta.
One of AmReit’s primary properties is Houston’s Uptown Park shopping center, the Chronicle reported, adding that the company had announced plans for more than $650 million worth of new development in Uptown Park, located in the city’s Galleria area.
Edens’ shopping centers have been concentrated in major cities along the East Coast. However, the homegrown company also has been a major player in the Midlands market, including:
• Renovating a run-down former grocery store into the Whole Foods-anchored Cross Hill Market on Fort Jackson Boulevard in 2012, which brought a spate of unique retailers and restaurants.
• Redeveloping Trenholm Plaza in Forest Acres over the past five years, giving it a fresh look and attracting new national and regional retailers, such as J.Crew, Anthropolgie and Scout & Molly’s.
• And overhauling the Target-anchored Shoppes at Woodhill on Garners Ferry Road.
The AmReit purchase is expected to be completed after the first of the year upon approval of that company’s stockholders.