General Growth Buys Stake in Two San Francisco Properties

General Growth Properties Inc., the second-biggest U.S. mall owner, bought stakes in two San Francisco buildings as it adds urban stores to its holdings.

The company acquired a 50 percent interest in the two properties, an Apple Inc. flagship store at 1 Stockton St. and a Bulgari store at 1 Union Square, the Chicago-based company said today in a statement. The Union Square portfolio has 58,703 square feet (5,453 square meters) of space, according to a quarterly supplemental report.

General Growth, which owns 123 regional malls across the U.S., has been expanding into urban markets, and last month agreed to buy 200 Lafayette St. in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood for $150 million. It plans to convert much of the 116,000-square-foot property into retail space, according to a presentation to investors. The building is now 100 percent leased to J.C. Penney & Co.

“In the case of urban retail, we are focused on flagship locations that are complementary to the mall business, and of the highest quality,” General Growth Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Mathrani said on a conference call with analysts in July. “There are only a handful of locations within the U.S. that have such packages.”

General Growth is buying the interest in the two buildings for about $82 million, according to the supplemental report filed with regulators.

Simon Property Group Inc., based in Indianapolis, is the largest U.S. mall owner.

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