General Growth to merge with U.S. Prime Property Inc. At an estimated total acquisition price of $625 million, Chicago-based General Growth Properties Inc. has executed a definitive merger agreement under which it will acquire U.S. Prime Property Inc., a private real estate investment trust managed by ERE Yarmouth Inc. that owns six regional shopping centers. General Growth Properties will maintain USPPI as a private REIT controlled by General Growth.

Also, General Growth has agreed to acquire eight shopping centers from MEPC plc for $871 million.

Prime Retail proposes merger with Horizon Group In connection with a proposed merger with Horizon Group, Baltimore-based Prime Retail has accepted a loan commitment from New York-based Nomura Asset Capital Corp. to provide $305 million of debt financing. Nomura also committed to provide bridge loan financing to Horizon Group Properties Inc., which will own and manage Horizon Group's remaining 13 outlet centers and two additional centers currently owned by Prime Retail. The common stock of HGP will be distributed to shareholders of both Prime Retail and Horizon Group upon completion of the proposed merger.

Great Mall of the Bay Area sells for more than $130 million Northern California's largest enclosed mall, the Great Mall of the Bay Area, has been acquired by Hollywood, Fla.-based The Michael Swerdlow Cos. and Los Angeles-based Colony Capital Inc. Representing one of the largest commercial real estate transactions in Silicon Valley history, the mall was purchased for more than $130 million. The mall consists of 1.5 million sq. ft. and has 185 designer outlet and value retail stores.

ERE Yarmouth wins University Mall management/leasing contract Further expanding its property management services business, Atlanta-based ERE Yarmouth Retail has been chosen by San Francisco-based BA Properties Inc. as the property manager and leasing agent for the 710,000 sq. ft. University Mall in Carbondale, Ill. Anchored by Famous Barr, JCPenny, Montgomery Ward and K's Merchandise, University Mall features more than 80 specialty shops.

Donahue Schriber merges with Diversified Shopping Centers Creating a company with combined total assets of $500 million, Newport Beach, Calif.-based Donahue Schriber and Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Diversified Shopping Centers plan to merge. The combined company will have a portfolio of 46 operating REIT properties and 1.6 million sq. ft. under development throughout California, Nevada and Arizona. With the addition of of Donahue Schriber's third-party asset management portfolio, the company will now control over 12.5 million sq. ft. of retail property.

Marcus & Millichap brokers sale of Rockies' largest regional mall For a total of $113 million, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co. has sold Southwest Plaza, the largest regional mall in the Rocky Mountain area. Sold by Denver-based Southwest Plaza Venture, Southwest Plaza consists of approximately 1.3 million sq. ft. and has 195 tenants. The sale also included two adjacent office buildings, a Target Department Store and several other freestanding peripheral buildings.

Northstar Capital purchases four Puerto Rico shopping centers Through its newly formed partnership, NorthStar Capital Investment Corp. has acquired four shopping centers in Puerto Rico. The partnership, Manley-Berenson Realty and Development LLC, a NorthStar affiliate, will pay $117.5 million for the four centers. The acquired centers, all anchored by a Kmart, are 100% occupied and, in total, contain 982,801 sq. ft.

Cousins begins work on first "Avenue" center in the Southeast Representing its first "Avenue" center in the Southeast, Atlanta-based Cousins Properties Inc. has purchased land and commenced construction on its upscale retail project, The Avenue East Cobb, a 235,000 sq. ft. specialty retail center in Atlanta's fastest-growing Cobb County.

The new center will house elite retailers typically found in Atlanta's premier regional malls. Total cost of the center is estimated at approximately $41 million, and it is scheduled to open in late spring 1999.

The "Avenue" is the name Cousins has given its new upscale retail product, which combines mall-based retailers, select local merchants and specialty restaurants in an open-air setting in affluent neighborhoods.