Short Pump shopping center snapped up

Out-of-town investors have snatched up a thriving Short Pump shopping center.

AmCap Richmond LLC has secured a $20.5 million acquisition loan to buy Short Pump Station, the Trader Joe’s-anchored retail strip at 11301 West Broad St.

AmCap Richmond is a joint venture between Connecticut-based private equity real estate firm AmCap Inc. and a real estate investment fund operated by Boston-based BayNorth Capital.

The center was built by Georgia-based S.J. Collins Enterprises in 2008 and includes a mix of mostly national retailers such as Petco, Five Below, New Balance and Life Is Good. It also has local retailers such as Frostings and Old River Cabinets. The entire center has more than 85,000 square feet.

Charlie Wu, a managing director at BayNorth Capital, said that the property’s location, demographics and performance make it a very high quality asset. Wu said that their partner in the deal, AmCap, identified the property and brought it to their attention.  Wu said the deal is his firm’s first foray into the Richmond market, but it might not be their last.

“We are always looking. Now that we have something there, we have a higher attention span on the area,” Wu said.

Not only is this BayNorth’s first entry into the Richmond market, but it is also its first deal since 2008. Wu said it was time to get off the bench.

“Financially, the world is lot different now than it was back then. Hopefully we’ll start to see more opportunities,” Wu said.  BayNorth is a closed-end fund with institutional investors, he said.

The loan is being financed by Aviva Investors, an affiliate of global insurance giant Aviva. The fixed-rate loan is set for a 10-year term.

It isn’t clear whether the purchase price is equal to the loan amount. The final purchase price for the property wasn’t disclosed, and hasn’t been recorded yet by Henrico County. The property is appraised by the county for more than $31 million.

Jim Ashby, a broker in the retail division of Thalhimer, said that the center should be a good investment.

“The location and the tenant mix make it an attractive investment option for someone out of town looking at centers in the Richmond market,” Ashby said, “Trader Joe’s does extremely well out there.”  Ashby said grocery-anchored shopping centers are highly favored in the current market because of their dependability during tough times. Although not involved with the deal, he said he had received several inquiries from potential buyers of the property seeking market comparisons and other information.

Another plus for the center is that many of the leases were signed in 2007 and 2008, before rates began to fall off the cliff.  “Some of the rental rates at this center seemed pretty high for the market,” Ashby said.

Al Harris covers commercial real estate for BizSense. Please send news tips to [email protected]

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