TIAA-CREF, the New York-based pension fund institutional investor, and Developers Diversified Realty Corp., a Cleveland-based retail real estate investment trust, have embarked on a joint venture to buy a portfolio of 67 community retail centers for about $3 billion.The properties that are going into the joint venture are a part of the portfolio of Inland Retail Real Estate Trust, a REIT that DDR is in the process of acquiring, DDR reported. An affiliate of TIAA is contributing 85% of the equity in the joint venture, and an affiliate of DDR is contributing 15% of the equity. DDR said it expects that leverage will not exceed 60% of the aggregate value of the properties. The purchase by the joint venture of these properties, which are predominantly located in the Southeast, is conditional on the closing of the merger. "We have been looking to strategically increase our retail exposure, and we believe this purchase represents a unique opportunity to do so while focusing on opportunities for attractive rates of return for our investors," said Tom Garbutt, head of TIAA-CREF's global real estate unit. The companies can be found online at http://www.tiaa-cref.org and http://www.ddr.com.

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