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Westfield to Gain Stakes in 3 Malls

The firm will acquire MainPlace in Santa Ana plus interests in Century City Shopping Center and Valencia Town Center in Santa Clarita in Rodamco buyout.

January 29, 2002|BOB HOWARD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Westfield America Inc., one of the largest owners of regional shopping malls in Southern California, will acquire interests in three more Southland malls as part of its $2.2-billion buyout of Rodamco North America by Westfield and two other mall operators.

Brentwood-based Westfield, which owns 16 shopping centers in Southern California, will acquire a half-interest in Century City Shopping Center, 25% of Valencia Town Center in Santa Clarita and full ownership of MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana, for a total of 2.6 million square feet.

The three Southern California properties are among five Rodamco malls in California and 14 throughout the United States in which Westfield will acquire an interest, said Peter S. Lowy, chief executive of Westfield America Inc., which is the U.S. arm of Australia's Westfield America Trust.

Lowy said Westfield will acquire interests in 15.8 million square feet of Rodamco malls in the deal, in which Westfield, Simon Property Group Inc. and Rouse Co. are acquiring the U.S. holdings of Netherlands-based Rodamco.

In addition to paying Rodamco $2.2 billion, the buyers will assume $3.1 billion of Rodamco debt.

With the addition of the Rodamco assets, Lowy said, Westfield will become the largest owner of regional malls in California and the second-largest in the United States, after Simon.

Westfield's Southern California holdings comprise seven shopping centers in Los Angeles County, eight in San Diego County and one in Palm Desert.

The company typically adds the Westfield Shoppingtown name to malls it buys, but Lowry said the company hasn't decided whether that will be the case with the properties in which it is only part owner.

"We do brand all of our properties over time," he said, "but where we have joint-venture partners we will need to talk to them about bringing the centers into the brand."

Westfield has embarked on extensive remodeling and renovation projects at many of the centers it has acquired, including the Promenade in Woodland Hills, but Lowy sees no immediate need for refurbishing any of the Southern California properties the company is acquiring from Rodamco.

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