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Taubman REIT's Asia Growth Forges Ahead

Stocks in this article: TCO

Both the Mall of San Juan and University Town Center are expected to generate sales productivity that place them in the top half of the REIT's portfolio. This is quite a statement when you think at year-end, the portfolio will likely average nearly $700 a square foot, a rare number for regional malls in America.

In Asia, Taubman is growing its business with a systematic approach. First, in Seoul, South Korea Taubman is leasing and project manager in the IFC Mall -- part of a 5.4 million square-foot mixed use project, including three Class A office towers, a Conrad International Hotel and 430,000 square feet of retail space. This center opened very successfully on Aug. 30, 100% leased with over 100 stores.

In August, Taubman concluded due diligence and made an additional investment in a joint venture with Shinsegae Group, South Korea's largest retailer. The joint venture will build, lease and manage a western-style 1.7 million square foot shopping mall in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, an eastern suburb of Seoul.

This world class project will be the largest center in Korea. Taubman's total investment including capitalized interest is expected to be about $330 million, representing a 30% interest in the center, which is expected to cost about $1 billion. The center will be anchored by a 525,000 square foot Shinsegae department store and will feature a luxury wing and in-line stores that will be dominated by international flagships, many of which will be the largest in Korea. Hanam Union Square is expected to open in 2015.

Also in August, Taubman Asia announced its first retail development in China, a joint venture with Beijing Wangfujing Department Store. The joint venture will own a controlling interest in and will lease and manage a shopping center to be located at Xi'an Saigao City Plaza, a large-scale mixed-use development in Xi'an, China.

The remaining ownership of the shopping center will be held by Shaanxi Fuli Real Estate Development that is constructing the broader project. Anchored by a Wangfujing department store, the seven-level Xi'an shopping center will be part of a 5.9 million square feet (gross building area) mixed-use project and is expected to feature a cinema, restaurants and approximately 300 international and local specialty stores. The center is scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2015.

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