A publicly traded and locally based real estate investment trust was recently part of a major merger in the commercial real estate industry.
Supermarket News reported that grocery-anchored shopping center owner Kimco Realty Corp. would acquire Weingarten Realty Investors, a Houston-based company with its headquarters in the Shady Acres area, in a $3.87 billion deal. The transaction creates one of the nation’s largest public owner-operators of open-air, grocery-anchored shopping centers and mixed-use properties.
Their combined portfolio will include 559 such shopping centers and developments — many of them in Houston and the surrounding area — and encompass about 100 million square feet of leasable area.
"Combining these highly complementary platforms is a win-win for shareholders of both companies," Weingarten chairman, president and CEO Andrew "Drew" Alexander said in a news release. "After examining the deal from every angle, it became increasingly clear that the potential of the integrated business is much greater than the sum of its parts. The combined company’s increased size and scale, together with its financial strength, should drive an advantageous cost of capital, allowing the combined company to more readily pursue value creation opportunities. We are excited to deliver this transaction to our shareholders, who will realize compelling and immediate value while also benefiting from the upside potential associated with owning the industry’s preeminent open-air shopping center and mixed-use REIT.”
Weingarten, headquartered at 2600 Citadel Plaza Dr. #125, owns and manages the Kroger shopping centers near the intersections of West 43rd Street and Ella Boulevard in Oak Forest as well as West 20th Street and Yale Street in the Heights. Those properties, along with its headquarters, total nearly 450,000 square feet and are valued at nearly $58 million, according to Harris County Appraisal District records.
Weingarten also owns the River Oaks Shopping Center, where the beloved and historic River Oaks Theatre closed last month after it could not come to terms on a new lease with the real estate company.
Jericho, N.Y.-based Kimco said the merger with Weingarten expands its geographic footprint in markets such as Houston, Miami, Phoenix, Atlanta and Orlando, Fla.
“This combination reflects our conviction in the grocery-anchored shopping center category, which has performed well throughout the pandemic and provides last-mile locations that are more valuable than ever due to their hybrid role as both shopping destinations and omnichannel fulfillment epicenters,” Kimco CEO Conor Flynn said in a statement.