Westfield America Trust announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire a 100% interest in Southgate Plaza shopping centre in Sarasota, Florida for US$62 million.

Southgate Plaza is the leading regional shopping centre serving the Sarasota market. It is anchored by Burdines, Dillard’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, with more than 39 in-line mall shops and retail kiosks. The strong tenant mix includes destination type stores such as Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Talbots, Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Gap and Gap Kids.

To fund this acquisition and other working capital Westfield America Trust has raised A$200 million (US$113 million) through a placement of ordinary units underwritten by Deutsche Bank.

The 425,000 square foot one-level regional centre was originally built in 1956 as an open-air strip mall, was enclosed in 1988 and renovated and expanded in 1997. Total annual sales for 2001 were approximately US$109 million with specialty store sales productivity at US$397 per square foot.

Westfield’s Managing Director Peter Lowy said the company was pleased with the acquisition of Southgate Plaza. “The centre provides a good geographic fit with our three existing Shoppingtowns in Florida, is well located in one of the fastest growing markets in the U.S and has both near term and longer term expansion potential,” Mr Lowy said.

Southgate Plaza increases Westfield America’s market presence to four regional centres in the Tampa cluster. Westfield’s other portfolio holdings in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida market include Westfield Shoppingtowns Brandon in Brandon, Citrus Park in Tampa and Countryside in Clearwater.


Westfield America Trust (ASX: WFA) is the second-largest property trust listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. WFA will own a majority interest in the Westfield America portfolio of 63 centres – following completion of this acquisition and the previously announced acquisition of Fashion Square Sherman Oaks in Los Angeles -- branded as Westfield Shoppingtowns. Westfield Shoppingtowns are home to more than 8,400 specialty stores and encompass 62.5 million square feet in the states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington.