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Katzman is Back

The Wall Street Journal profiles Chaim Katzman in connection with the ongoing wooing of Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust by Equity One. In the latest development, Equity has nominated two people to Ramco's board.

Mr. Katzman believes real-estate prices are at bargain levels. The Dow Jones Equity All-REIT index of 113 stocks has declined 50% on a total return basis in the past year, and prices paid for U.S. retail property have declined 25% from last year's levels, according to Real Capital Analytics.

"We definitely feel that this is a buying opportunity," Mr. Katzman said. "I'll be surprised if you don't see us trying to do more [buying]. I think the next couple of years will determine who the big players for the next 20 years are going to be."

Mr. Katzman and select others are among the few brave enough to buy while the property markets still are in turmoil. Germany's Otto family, which controls European mall owner ECE Projektmanagement, is paying $112.5 million for a 20% equity stake in Developers Diversified Realty Corp., the owner of 710 big-box shopping centers in the U.S.

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