San Diego - Pan Pacific Retail Properties recently announced plans to boost its presence in key West Coast markets - and nearly double its portfolio size - by acquiring competitor Western Properties Trust.

Pan Pacific, a San Diego-based neighborhood shopping center REIT, announced that the stock-for-stock transaction, which is subject to shareholder approval, will be valued at up to $440 million, including transaction costs and the assumption of approximately $200 million of debt.

Western Properties Trust is a neighborhood and community center REIT based in Emeryville, Calif. It owns 50 shopping centers in Oregon, Washington, Nevada and California. Acquiring Western will make Pan Pacific the largest West Coast neighborhood shopping center REIT, with an expected total market capitalization of approximately $1.3 billion. Its portfolio will increase by 83%, from 60 properties to 110 neighborhood centers encompassing more than 14.3 million sq. ft.