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Weingarten Realty Investors (WRI - Snapshot Report), a retail real estate investment trust (REIT), recently acquired a Wash.-based shopping center – Queen Anne Marketplace – in a joint venture (JV) with Bouwinvest. The strategic move evinces the company’s effort to strengthen its overall portfolio and tenant base, through high-end assets buy-out.

Situated at the Mercer Street in the prosperous Queen Anne submarket of Seattle, this property spans 70,000 square feet. This urban retail shopping center is anchored by a cluster of renowned tenants – such as Metropolitan Market, FedEx Corporation (FDX - Analyst Report), Bartell Drugs, and Bank of America Corporation (BAC - Analyst Report).  

Queen Anne Marketplace is suitably located in a 3-mile trade area with a highly educated and dense population. Moreover, the center is situated in proximity to numerous prominent buildings such as Amazon.com, Inc.’s (AMZN - Analyst Report) headquarters, Seattle Center and the Gates Foundation.

Notably, this is the first buy-out of the JV in which Weingarten holds 51% interest. Further, the JV intends to invest about $275 million for the acquisition of premium shopping centers and utilize up to 50% leverage.  

We view the aforementioned acquisition as a laudable achievement for Weingarten, given its superior demographics with high household incomes, along with high barriers to entry. We expect it to increase rental revenues and thereby boost top-line growth in the future.

Based in Houston, Texas, Weingarten owns, manages and develops real estate properties. As of Mar 31, 2013, the company owned a total of 288 developed properties and 2 properties under construction. The total number of properties includes 286 neighborhoods and community shopping centers and 4 other operating properties located in 21 states totaling approximately 53.0 million square feet.

Weingarten Realty currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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