Mall REIT General Growth Properties Inc. today announced the formation of GGP-TRS L.L.C., a new 50/50 joint venture with Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois.

And the new team is raring to go: The venture has already acquired Galleria at Tyler in Riverside, Calif., Kenwood Towne Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Silver City Galleria in Taunton, Mass. In addition to these three properties, which were purchased from an institutional investor, Illinois Teachers’ transferred its full ownership of Clackamas Town Center (Portland, Ore.) to the joint venture’s portfolio.

The four enclosed regional malls are valued at approximately $634 million and are encumbered by approximately $412 million of non-recourse mortgage loans. Silver City Galleria’s $75 million fixed-rate loan, bearing interest at 7.41%, was assumed, while three new acquisition loans totaling approximately $337 million were obtained. Victoria Ward, a wholly owned subsidiary that General Growth recently acquired, obtained this new unsecured debt.

The joint venture is expected to generate approximately $55 million of net operating income over the next 12 months. Current average sales are approximately $408 per sq. ft. and current average occupancy is approximately 86%.

Chicago-based General Growth’s ownership and management portfolio totals 145 million sq. ft. of retail space. Teachers' Retirement System of the State of Illinois represents Illinois educators teaching outside the City of Chicago and includes 285,000 active and retired members.