By Ralph Bivins
HOUSTON – The Portofino shopping center, one of the most ambitiously designed shopping centers in Texas, has been acquired by the Kite Realty Group Trust. Borrowing from the architecture of Venice, Jefco Development Corp., a Houston retail center group led by Jim Fisher, developed Portofino in 2000. The center features Roman fountains, canals, courtyards and waterfalls. Its buildings are adorned with Roman-styled statues, patterned brickwork, arches and columns in a flamboyant effort that is unmatched in the state of Texas.
The Portofino project is located in the Shenandoah community, near The Woodlands, at 19075 Interstate 45. With 372,506-SF of gross leasing area, Portofino is 94.6 percent leased with tenants including Sports Authority, DSW, Stein Mart, Old Navy, Conn’s Appliances and PetsMart.
Portofino was one of nine retail centers, totaling 2 million sf, recently purchased by Indianapolis-based Kite Realty for $307 million.
Also included in the acquisition was the Kingwood Commons, a 164,000-sf project on the northeast side of Houston. Kingwood Commons, 600 Kingwood Drive, just west of Highway 59, was developed by Planned Community Developers in 2000.
The portfolio also included projects in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
John A. Kite, the company’s Chairman and CEO, said, “This off-market portfolio acquisition enables us to add approximately two million square feet of high quality shopping centers to our portfolio. These properties will complement those in our existing portfolio and provide us with an opportunity to strategically increase our footprint in our targeted markets. We believe there are significant value creation opportunities through the lease-up of vacant space, roll-over of below market rents, and the pursuit of redevelopment opportunities.”