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Kimco Realty Corp. (KIM - Analyst Report), a real estate investment trust (REIT), recently acquired City Heights Retail Village in San Diego. The purchase price for this transaction was $35.6 million, including the assumption of $20 million of mortgage debt.

Spanning 109,000 square feet, the shopping center is currently 99.0% occupied. The property is located in the densely populated community of City Heights, northeast of downtown San Diego and close to San Diego State University’s main campus.

The acquisition is beneficial to Kimco Realty as the shopping center is located in infill locations with high barriers to entry and limited competitors. The center has easy access to Interstate 15, I-8 and I-808 highways and is surrounded by office, residential and recreational spaces. The strategic move by the company is aimed at having a geographically diverse portfolio concentrated mostly in high-income, high-growth areas. Also the company continues to reposition its portfolio through the divestiture of non-strategic assets and acquisition of high-quality properties.

Earlier in the third quarter of 2012, Kimco acquired three wholly-owned shopping centers (420,000 square feet) in core markets for $84.3 million, including $42.5 million of mortgage debt. The company also acquired a 161,000-square-foot shopping center in California, for $34.5 million.

Kimco together with its subsidiaries is the largest publicly traded owner and operator of neighbourhood and community shopping centers in the U.S. As of September 30, 2012, the company owned interests in 922 shopping centers totalling 135 million square feet of leasable space across 44 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and South America.

Kimco currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. We maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock. One of its competitors, Simon Property Group Inc. (SPG - Analyst Report), currently retains a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term Buy rating.

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