U.S.-based retail REITs for the past few years have been expanding farther and farther afield with ventures in South America, Asia and Europe. The latest move puts General Growth Properties Inc. in Turkey, where it will look to build several properties in the country in the next few years.
To enter Turkey, General Growth is teaming with Hamburg, Germany-based ECE Projektmanagement G.m.b.H & Co. KG, one of the largest builders of urban shopping centers in Europe. The companies formed a 50/50 joint venture called CURA GGP Gayrimenkul Gelistrime A.S. that will invest in development and acquisitions. The first joint project will be the construction of the 430,000-square-foot ESPARK retail and entertainment center in Eskisehir, a city of more than 700,000 residents. Construction on the project began in March and it will open in fall 2007. It will include 150 shops and a multi-plex cinema. General Growth's previous moves internationally are in Latin America, where it manages properties in Brazil and is developing a mall in Costa Rica.