The consolidation of retail REITs continues. Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) and Crown American Realty Trust today have entered into a definitive merger agreement, which will make PREIT one of the largest shopping mall owners in the mid-Atlantic region. Philadelphia-based PREIT, founded in 1960, recently shifted its investment focus to retail shopping malls and power centers in the eastern U.S.

The consolidation of retail REITs continues. Pennsylvania PREIT’s portfolio encompasses 49 properties in 10 states. Johnstown, Pa.-based Crown American Realty Trust is an equity REIT focusing on regional shopping malls throughout the U.S.

Once the merger is completed, PREIT will own interest in 54 retail properties with more than 33 million sq. ft. of space in 12 states. More than 80% of the portfolio is located in the mid-Atlantic region. The merged entity will have a total market capitalization of roughly $2.7 billion.

"The merger with Crown will be an important step in the strategic transformation of our company from a diversified REIT to an enterprise with a single focus on becoming a leading owner of value-oriented retail properties in the mid-Atlantic states," says Ronald Rubin, PREIT chairman in a written statement.

Crown Chairman Mark Pasquerilla credited PREITs strength as a way to create solid future performance for shareholders. "We are pleased to merge with a company the caliber of PREIT. Combining our portfolios in shared markets creates many operational synergies and enables the shareholders of both companies to benefit from a larger, more liquid platform with better access to capital," says Pasquerilla in a written statement.