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Parkville Deal Marks Baltimore Area’s Fourth Shopping Center Sale in 2 Months

The retail center at 1901-1907 East Joppa Road

Despite volatility in the debt market caused by rising interest rates, real estate investors continue snatching up strip-style retail centers in the Baltimore region.

Since late November, at least four shopping centers have sold in the Baltimore region. Those assets run the gamut from high-profile shopping destinations to suburban strip malls occupied primarily by discount stores.  

This week, Besche Realty Inc. sold the strip mall at 1901-1907 East Joppa Road in Parkville for $4.5M, according to the Baltimore Business Journal. The buyer was a private investment group.  

The 21K SF property has tenants including Joppa Pharmacy, AR Bridal and Sofas ETC. 

Gil Neuman of Neuman Commercial Group arranged the deal for the Parkville center. He also represented the seller, an affiliate of Bien/Paul Ventures, in the $5.7M sale of the East Drive Shopping Center in Arbutus last month. 

East Drive Shopping Center is a roughly 65K SF retail property in Arbutus that was 72% leased at the time of the sale. Tenants include Save-A-Lot, Pizza Boli's and Dollar General. Neuman Commercial Group represented the seller, an affiliate of Bien/Paul Ventures.

In December, the Premier Cos. made the biggest recent splash in the sector when it purchased Belvedere Square from War Horse Cities for an undisclosed amount. The roughly 100K SF shopping center is about 90% leased. Its credit tenants include Loyola University’s clinical center, the University of Maryland, Urgent Care and Truist. 

“Premier’s strength has always been management and operations, and while War Horse Cities did an excellent job before us, we see opportunities to increase occupancy and reduce expenses over the long term,” The Premier Cos. CEO Jonathan Cutler told Bisnow when his firm purchased the property. 

In late November, a partnership between Burley Church LLC and Pinefield South-Kodiak LLC purchased Baltimore's Church Square Shopping Center for $6.5M. The 44K SF shopping center at 923 North Caroline St. was fully leased at the time of the sale. The weighted average lease term remaining for those occupants topped seven years.

Tenants include Dollar General Plus, Citi Trends, DTLR and Hip Hop Fish & Chicken. At one time, Save-A-Lot anchored the center, but after the grocer closed, that structure was divided into two smaller spaces.   

“As evident by the quick lease-up at Church Square, and credit tenant interest, Baltimore continues to attract tenants from a local and national level,” Chris Burnham, KLNB principal of retail investment sales, said in a statement issued at the time of the sale. 

Brick-and-mortar retail — especially suburban-style, grocery-anchored strip malls — has attracted substantial new investment in recent years. That is due mainly to a growing demand for convenience in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.   

“Covid has taught us consumerism is now driven by convenience,” MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate principal Tom Fidler told Bisnow this fall.

David Donato of Baltimore-based Continental Realty Corp. told Bisnow in October that "choppiness" in the economy stoked his firm's interest in shopping centers, particularly suburban-style assets with substantial parking. 

"While some people are panicking about quote-unquote retail, we feel like they're running away from some of the wrong things. We are finding that we're getting really good buys on really steady stuff,” Donato said. “These outdoor strips have performed very, very, very well.”