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Certain statements made today during this conference call, which are not historical, maybe deemed forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.For a more detailed description of the risks and uncertainties that may cause future events to differ from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements, please refer to our earnings release and to our various SEC filings.Management may also discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations of each non-GAAP financial measure to the comparable GAAP measure are included in our earnings release and the financial reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Members of management with us today are Michael Glimcher, Chairman and CEO; Marshall Loeb, President and COO; and Mark Yale, CFO. And now, I would like to turn the call over to Michael Glimcher. Michael Glimcher Thank you, Lisa. Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us on today’s call. As we mentioned during our fourth quarter earnings call in February, we are extremely proud of the progress made in the execution of our transformative strategy here at Glimcher. And we are even more excited about how this positions us for 2012 and beyond. In terms of accomplishments, we are particularly pleased to now have portfolio sales well and excess of $400 per square foot. In fact, sales are up over 25% from 2009. In addition to achieving this significant milestone for the company, total mall occupancy is sitting at approximately 94% as of quarter end and we experienced an acceleration in store leasing over the last 12 months while generating positive re-leasing spreads in the high single digits. Improvement in real estate quality was not only driven by progress made within our existing portfolio but also through the addition of new properties, like the purchase of Town Center Plaza in Leawood, Kansas during the fourth quarter of 2011.
Leawood sales are well above $400 per square foot. And through the acquisition, we were able to add tenants like Anthropologie and Madewell to our portfolio. We are working hard and being creative in order to find other high quality opportunities similar to Leawood that will enhance the portfolio and meet our acquisition criteria. To date, we have created a nice pipeline of potential deals any of which would represent a great follow-up to pending purchase of Blackstone’s 80% ownership interest in Pearlridge Center which we announced in March.The purchased price for their interest will be approximately $290 million and including Blackstone’s pro rata share of the $175 million mortgage debt currently encumbering the property resulting on a cash purchase price for Blackstone’s interest of approximately $150 million. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of this year and is subject to customary closing conditions. We’re excited to increase our ownership position in Pearlridge, a high quality mall that we currently operate and already know very well. Accordingly, we have a high level of comfort with the property and more importantly with the market. We are seeing solid leasing momentum at Pearlridge and are extremely energize about where we can take the property going forward. The sales of nearly $500 per square foot and the dynamic growth profile, this strategic investment is consistent with our goal of enhancing the quality of our real estate portfolio. This transaction also highlights our ability to continue to execute off market opportunities at fair pricing that supports our quality strategy. As we maintain our focus on the quality of our balance sheet we elected to move forward with the common equity offer in March to primarily fund the $150 million acquisitions of Blackstone’s Pearlridge interest. Due to the solid response from the market we were able to upsize the transaction and raise $218 million providing us with ample liquidity to move forward with other potential investments.
We believe the Pearlridge investment represents sound capital allocation and expect the transaction to be neutral to FFO per share other than the initial delusion associated with the timing between the offering and the ultimate closing of the purchase. Additionally, it provide outside growth relative to the rest of our Core Mall portfolio as well as supporting a nice improvement in our fixed charge coverage.With respect to the other two properties jointly owned with Blackstone, Lloyd Center, and WestShore Plaza, they have now both been formally listed and are being marketed for sale. Depending on the pricing levels for each property, this could represent a great use of capital or by contrast, a great source of capital for the company. We also remain very comfortable with our current 40% ownership so it’s quite possible we could maintain our current interest in each property with a new institutional partner. We are anticipating that the situation will be fluid and we will keep you posted as appropriate. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com