Federal Realty Investment Trust is working on an institutional joint venture that will focus on A-class stabilized properties on the East and West Coasts. The $350 million entity will be 60 percent leveraged with Federal retaining a 30 percent interest and contributing one property to seed the venture. At a time when falling cap rates and rising debt costs are pinching spreads on both ends, fees from the joint venture should provide Federal with an avenue of external growth, says Friedman, Billings Ramsey analyst Paul Morgan. A more detailed announcement is expected soon...

To shore up its retail services platform, New York-based Cushman & Wakefield is forming a strategic alliance with The Ozer Group. Based in Needham, Mass., Ozer is specialist in retail asset disposition, acquisition and valuation. The firm's client list includes Gap Inc., Levi's Casual Male and AnnTaylor...

The soft opening of Chelsea Property Group's Chicago Premium Outlets caused a traffic jam on I-88 near Aurora, Ill., two weeks ago. Sales volumes at the new center are rivaling those achieved at the opening of the REIT's top producing property, Orlando Premium Outlet Center. Chelsea and its joint-venture partner in the center, Simon Property Group, are well on their way to achieving an unleveraged return on total cost of 16 percent for the project, says Merrill Lynch analyst Steve Sakwa...

Trammell Crow Co. recently closed deals totaling $23.5 million for three clients. Toronto-based Sterling Centrecorp Inc. paid G.E. Capital $6.3 million for Augusta West, a 207,951-square-foot power center in Augusta, Ga. TA Associates paid Sterling Centrecorp $11.5 million for The Falls, a 110,270-square-foot power center in Raleigh, N.C. And CREC/Bell University Plaza LLC paid 4000 Goldenrod LLC $5.7 million for Kmart University Plaza, a 95,862-square-foot power center outside of Orlando. Whitney Knoll, head of Trammell Crow's retail services division, and John Crossman, senior vice president, handled negotiations on behalf of the sellers... Richmond-based John B. Levy & Company, Inc. has been retained to secure a $52 million long-term, fixed rate mortgage on a new retail project in Wilmington, N.C.

The project, the 401,000 square foot Mayfaire Town Center, is 80 percent leased. Key tenants include Hecht's, Ann Taylor, Williams-Sonoma, Barnes & Noble, Linens 'N Things, Michael's, and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers. Mayfaire Town Center, totaling 59.33 acres, is the first phase of a 394-acre, master-planned community that will include apartments, condominiums, office buildings, a luxury hotel, and additional retail space. Once completed, the project will include 950,000 square feet of retail, including a 16 Screen Consolidated Theater. Mayfaire Town Center was developed in a joint venture lead by H.J. Brody, former owner of Brody's Department Stores. The joint venture partner is a regional developer that has built over 200 properties in 16 states.