Real estate investment trust

Weingarten Realty Investors

(WRI) - Get Report

said Tuesday that it formed a joint venture with

Mercantile Real Estate Advisors

, a subsidiary of

Mercantile Bankshares

(MRBK) - Get Report

, to acquire and operate industrial properties within target markets across the United States.

The partners plan to invest $500 million in total capital over the next two years including leverage targeted at about 50% of total capital.

WRI said it will oversee the acquisition process and the ongoing management and leasing of the properties.

As part of the transaction, WRI provided the initial "seeding" for the joint venture, contributing 16 buildings at five properties, located in the San Diego, Memphis, Tenn., and Atlanta markets, with a total value of $123 million and aggregating more than two million square feet, the company added.

"This joint venture will further diversify Weingarten's available capital resources, allow for additional growth in our industrial and retail portfolio, and enhance return on investment," WRI said.

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