Today, on behalf of our investors, we closed on the $9 billion acquisition of Centro Properties’ U.S. assets and platform. Centro is the second largest owner of community and neighborhood shopping centers in the U.S. and a leader in redevelopment. Assets include 585 community and neighborhood shopping centers and related retail assets with an aggregate of 92.1 million square feet across 39 states.
The acquisition includes Centro’s property management platform which is comprised of 18 offices and approximately 600 employees across the United States. The Blackstone team is excited to work with the management of the Company to shift their focus from asset preservation to growth. Centro has demonstrated favorable fundamentals with a strong increase in releasing spreads as well as leasing 1.2 million square feet in the first quarter of 2010 which was the most new space leased in any quarter in the last two years.
With one of the largest opportunistic real estate funds in the world, an experienced team, access to financing and deep knowledge of the U.S retail market, we were able to swiftly respond to Centro Properties' request to execute a transaction within a tight time frame. The efficient close of the Centro acquisition is a prime example of Blackstone's ability to apply its global perspective, entrepreneurial thinking and culture of team work to some of the largest real estate transactions. Our real estate funds have been very active over the last 18 months and have invested approximately $10 billion in global real estate markets since September 2009.