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Some Investors Are Still Game To Buy Retail Assets

Though retail investment sales plummeted nearly 50% in the beginning of the year, not all investors are shying away from the sector.


There remain those who believe profitable deals can be done in the retail sector, such as Florida-based private equity firm Sterling Organization, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to Sterling CEO Brian Kosoy, the company is about to close on a new $500M fund to buy retail assets. The new fund will seek annual returns in the mid-to-upper teens by acquiring less-stable assets that require more active management.

Sterling has been an active buyer and renovator in the retail space even as the headlines continue to deliver news of retail closures and the deleterious impact of e-commerce on brick-and-mortar assets.

This month, Sterling inked a deal to buy a two-property, grocery-anchored portfolio of shopping centers totaling 305K SF in the Twin Cities market. The $41.7M purchase was through Sterling’s institutional grocery-anchored shopping center core fund, Sterling United Properties.

Earlier this year, the company acquired a 73K SF grocery-anchored property in suburban Atlanta for $10.5M and an 83K SF grocery-anchored property in suburban Chicago for $7.2M.

Kosoy told the WSJ that the flight of capital from retail will adjust pricing and offer buying opportunities for his company.

Indeed, the market looks to favor buyers these days. Real Capital Analytics reports that in April, $3B worth of U.S. retail real estate traded hands, down 27% from a year earlier, and the lowest monthly sales in the sector in more than five years.

Some buyers are even entering new markets looking for retail. In June, in a partnership with Katz Properties, Texas-based Velocis acquired the 230K SF Brandywine Crossing shopping center in Prince George’s County. The property is its fifth D.C.-area acquisition since 2015, but its first retail asset in the market.