For the second time in a week, an outside commercial real estate firm has purchased a major retail project in the Richmond area. Excel Trust Inc., a San Diego-based real estate investment trust, has acquired West Broad Village in Henrico County from its developer, Unicorp National Developments Inc. The transaction was part of a six shopping center portfolio, with the five other Unicorp centers located in Orlando, Fla., the home of the national developer. The total price tag for the sale, according to a news release from Excel Trust, was $263 million. Excel reportedly paid $161 million for West Broad Village.
Gary Sabin, Excel’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement, “We are excited about the quality and earnings potential of these assets. The demographics and tenant mix are exceptional and will further strengthen our portfolio.”
According to Excel Trust, it purchased nearly 386,000 square feet of retail and commercial space at West Broad Village, with an additional 339 apartment units above the center. The retail portion is about 80 percent leased with another 35,000 square feet planned, but not yet built. Major tenants include Whole Foods, HomeGoods, REI, Wells Fargo, First Market Bank, Dave & Busters, Mimi’s Cafe, Kona Grill and Bonefish Grill. The apartments are 98 percent leased.
The purchase does not include the Aloft Hotel, a new ACAC fitness center under construction or the townhouse section of the development, controlled by Markel | Eagle Partners, a local private equity fund. It saved the project by investing in it in 2009, when the mixed-use project was on the brink of failing.
Last week, Cole Real Estate Investments, based out of Phoenix, bought The Shops at White Oak Village in eastern Henrico for $68 million.
Brett H. McNamee, a senior vice president with Divaris Real Estate in Richmond, noted that both of the properties were “big showcase projects in Richmond and both of them were trailblazers. The Shops at White Oak Village was the first major, 900,0000 square-foot retail center in the East End of Henrico. And then in Short Pump, West Broad was a brand new type of project. Both of them were showcases, and they required the attention of some of the larger developers in the country.“
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