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Centro Changes Name to Brixmor Property Group

Three months after an affiliate of Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI L.P. closed on its $9.4 billion acquisition of Centro Properties Group US, the firm has announced a new identity.

Effective immediately, the former Centro entity is now Brixmor Property Group. Brixmor is second largest owner of community and neighborhood shopping centers in the United States with 585 properties aggregating approximately 92.0 million square feet and as Centro ranked No. 5 overall in Retail Traffic’s annual rankings of the top owners of retail real estate in the United States.

And it’s potentially on the verge of getting even larger with the announcement earlier this week that Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII entered into an agreement to acquire 36 shopping centers containing 3.9 million square feet from Equity One Inc. for $473.1 million. The shopping centers are predominately located in the Atlanta, Tampa and Orlando markets, with additional properties located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Maryland. Closing of the transaction is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2011.

“Today, we are a well-capitalized organization committed to supporting the growth strategies of our retailers by offering the best locations in well-anchored, highly-productive shopping centers,” Brixmor CEO Michael Carroll said in a statement. “While our new name embodies the physical foundation of our business in ‘bricks’ and ‘mortar,’ it also symbolizes the convergence of our value-creation capabilities with the real estate objectives of our current and future retailers. Although retailers today utilize multiple distribution channels, the bricks and mortar arena remains the largest and we are well positioned to partner with our retailers and provide access to their target markets.”

Brixmor also unveiled a new logo and a re-branded Web site. Additional branding initiatives, including property signage and new leasing and marketing materials, will be implemented over the next several months. Subsidiaries Centro NP LLC and Centro NP Residual Holding LLC will be changing their names to Brixmor LLC and Brixmor Residual Holding LLC, respectively.

Another name change

Brixmor is actually the second retail real estate firm to change its name this month.

On Sept. 12, Developers Diversified Realty Corp. changed its name to DDR Corp. and also unveiled a new logo, tagline and brand identity.

"Our new name accurately reflects the fact that we have simplified our strategy, portfolio and capital structure," DDR President & CEO Daniel B. Hurwitz said in a statement. "The words 'developers' and 'diversified' no longer have primary significance in our company strategy. Ground-up development of new shopping centers, while still part of our business, no longer warrants top billing in our name. Furthermore, our focus on open-air, value-oriented shopping centers renders the word 'diversified' inaccurate."

DDR is an owns and manages 546 value-oriented shopping centers representing 126 million square feet in 41 states, Puerto Rico and Brazil. It ranked third on No. 3 overall in Retail Traffic’s annual rankings of the top owners of retail real estate in the United States.

The firm also chose to adopt DDR as its official name to align with its symbol on the New York Stock exchange and underline management’s role as “stewards of shareholder capital.” In addition, it signifies the acceptance of the corporate identity to which the company is most commonly referred within the industry.

Included in the launch of the new brand is the tagline: "Think Retail. Create Value."

"The new tagline is meant to emphasize to both tenants and employees that one of our prime differentiators is a sincere effort to see the world through the eyes of our customer — the retailer. It is also meant to remind our investors that our primary purpose for being is the creation of long-term shareholder value," Hurwitz said.

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