NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Excel Trust ( EXL), a retail-focused shopping center REIT, announced last week it has acquired six shopping centers for approximately $263 million. This is a significant milestone for the San Diego-based company as the small-cap REIT has now surpassed $1 billion dollars in assets under management.Excel had around $820 million in assets of its latest reporting period (second quarter of 2012) and with the latest announced closing the company will have around $1.1 billion in assets. Excel Trust was organized in late 2009 and completed its initial common stock offering on April 28, 2010. With initial proceeds of $194.6 million, Excel chartered (the company) with no legacy assets and its mid-market platform focused on necessity brand tenants with a value-oriented sales model. In addition, the company's growth model -- of locating in hubs that form a lower circle around the U.S. -- have proven to be highly successful. By connecting dots in San Diego, SF Bay, Phoenix, Dallas, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., the "smile states" model forms a demographic footprint representing a broad base of retail tenants with above average sales per square foot. Excel's recent acquisition includes West Broad Village, a mixed use center in Richmond, Va. that is comprised of approximately 385,897 square feet of retail and commercial space, with an additional 339 apartment units above the center. The retail portion is approximately 80% leased with another 35,000 square feet entitled but not constructed. Major tenants include Whole Foods ( WFM) , HomeGoods, REI, Wells Fargo ( WFC), First Market Bank, Dave & Busters, Mimi's Cafe, Kona Grill and Bonefish Grill. The apartments have experienced strong demand and are currently 98% leased. Excel also acquired a portfolio of five retail shopping centers (four centers that are wholly owned and a 50% interest in a fifth center) which together comprise approximately 319,264 square feet. Major tenants include Walgreens ( WAG), CVS Pharmacy ( CVS), Fifth Third Bank ( FITB), Regions Bank ( RF), Fleming's, Cantina Laredo, Big Fin, Jos. A. Bank ( JOSB) and Ruth's Chris Steak House ( RUTH). The shopping centers are approximately 96% leased. In an announcement, Gary Sabin, Excel's Chairman and CEO stated, "We are excited about the quality and earnings potential of these assets. The demographics and tenant mix are exceptional and will further strengthen and diversify our portfolio. Since our IPO in 2010, we have acquired approximately $1.1 billion of high quality assets and we continue to see attractive opportunities in our pipeline."