An international real estate investment firm that’s based in Cyprus and trades on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, is ramping up its Philadelphia-area presence and is poised to buy six grocery-anchored shopping centers for an estimated $115 million, according to sources familiar with the transaction.
The company has under agreement properties put up for sale last November.
Before the onset of the pandemic, the company was snapping up Philadelphia-area retail properties that had grocery stores as anchor tenants. In February 2020, it paid $25 million for Cross Roads Plaza, a nearly 100,000-square-foot center that has ShopRite as a tenant at 1520 Route 38 on the border of Hainesport and Lumberton townships in Burlington County, New Jersey.
A month earlier in January 2020,the firm bought Centre Square Commons, an 88,598-square-foot Aldi-anchored shopping center at routes 202 and 73 in Blue Bell, for $40 million. The company also owns the North End Center, anchored by Redners, in Pottstown and three similar retail properties in Pennsylvania, including two in Reading and one in Lebanon.
The company will now expand its presence with the Brandolini purchase, which includes the Lionville Shopping Center, Hamilton Square, Spring Towne Shopping Center, Dreshertown Plaza, Marketplace at Westtown and Limerick Crossing. The grocers are Giant, Acme, Aldi and George’s, which is a well-known, family-owned store in Dresher.
The centers combined total 741,902 square feet and the average sale per square foot for the grocers total $589. The portfolio is 90% leased.
Grocery-anchored shopping centers were a popular investment prior to the pandemic. Investors sought out retail properties somewhat immune to the threat of e-commerce, which has hollowed out malls and Main Streets and prompted dozens of companies to file bankruptcy. The antidote appeared to be centers with grocery stores and other retailers that provide services not as easily obtained over the internet.
These retail properties ended up becoming even more desirable during the coronavirus because the stores remained open during mandatory shutdowns and were considered essential.
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