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Federal Realty (FRT) Acquires Kmart Lease at Assembly Square

Zacks Equity Research

Federal Realty Investment Trust FRT recently announced acquisition of the Kmart lease at Assembly Square Marketplace in Somerville, MA, for $14.5 million. The move comes as part of the company’s efforts to gain control and capitalize on future prospects in the dynamic, mixed-use Assembly neighborhood.

According to Dan Guglielmone, executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, "Federal has demonstrated through its proactive acquisitions of anchor leases that it is willing to work-through potential short-term impact to deliver long-term shareholder value."

Notably, Federal Realty acquired Assembly Square in 2005. The following year, the company concluded the redevelopment of the enclosed mall into an open-air power center, while Kmart remained one of its anchor tenants. Further, in 2012, ground breaking on the first phase of Assembly Row, Federal's signature mixed use neighborhood in Somerville took place.

Therefore, with the acquisition of anchor lease, Federal Realty is well poised to use this roughly 100,000-square-foot building and six-acre parcel to capitalize on the future growth opportunities and its investments in the Assembly neighborhood.

Admittedly, the onslaught of e-commerce on physical retailers has made them rationalize their store fleet, while others unable to contend with online giants are filing bankruptcies. Sears and Kmart stores also felt the brunt with several stores slated for shut down in the near term.

Amid these store closures and retailer bankruptcies, retail real estate landlords, including Kimco Realty Corp KIM, Macerich Company MAC, Taubman Centers TCO, Federal Realty among others, are witnessing a choppy environment.

Amid this, Federal Realty has been undertaking remerchandising and redevelopment efforts to retain the relevance of its properties. Moreover, amid challenges in the retail real estate market, the company is diversifying its retail properties to mixed-use ones by adding residential space.

In fact, mixed-use developments have gained popularity in recent years and the company targets creating urban, mixed-use neighborhoods like Santana Row in San Jose, CA, Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, MD, Assembly Row in Somerville, MA, and Cocowalk in Miami, FL. Such developments that combine shopping, dining, living and working grab the attention of people who prefer to live, work and play in the same area, and ensure steady demand and healthy occupancy.

Nevertheless, although repositioning and redevelopment are a strategic fit for long-term growth, such initiatives involve considerable upfront costs and tend to drag down near-term profitability.

Federal Realty carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Also, shares of the company have gained 2.4% over the past three months, outperforming the industry’s increase of 2%.



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