CalPERS is working on a deal to buy one of the biggest shopping malls in the Chicago area - and one of the premier malls in the country.
The big pension fund and its investment partner, Miller Capital Advisory Inc., are in discussions to purchase Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Ill. CalPERS and Miller already own a 50 percent share of Woodfield and are preparing to buy the remaining half from a General Motors Co. pension fund.
The deal was first reported by the newspaper Crain's Chicago Business.
"This is a trophy asset - this is among the best regional centers in the country," Miller president Andrew Miller said today.
Crain's said the CalPERS group is planning to pay around $500 million for the half share. Miller said that figure is "in the ballpark" but he declined to offer more specifics.
CalPERS declined comment other than to say a deal is "still pending."
Crain's said the deal would value the entire mall at around $1 billion, or some $900 a square foot. That would make it one of priciest mall sales in the country in the past decade.
Despite the hefty price, analysts said the purchase would dovetail with CalPERS' new focus on sticking to more conservative wagers on real estate. The pension fund lost billions in the market crash.
"There are not many places on earth that provide as safe or steady a return" as Woodfield, said Dan Fasulo, managing director at Real Capital Analytics, a market research firm in New York.
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