Kite Realty Group has accepted to pay $2.79 billion to add rival Retail Properties of America (RPAI) to its open-air shopping center portfolio, making the real estate investment trust the nation’s fifth-largest and giving it a cheaper way to the capital for expansion.
If shareholders approve the deal, Oak Brook, Illinois-based Retail Properties of America will become a subsidiary of Kite, based in Indianapolis, with 185 open-air centers and about 32 million square feet of leasable space.
The transaction underscores the staying power of open-air shopping centers and malls that are mainly anchored by grocers. As the shutdowns took effect throughout the country last year, open-air malls with easy access and curbside pick-up thrived while indoor malls suffered as consumers opted to shop from their couches. Owners of open-air centers are emerging from the pandemic relatively stronger and able to pursue acquisitions.
The deal provides Kite a more prominent presence in New York and offers it to strategic markets in Washington, D.C. and Seattle as well as Atlanta and Phoenix. The bulk of Kite’s properties are in Florida and Indiana.