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LOS ANGELES-GlobeSt.com has exclusively learned that Vestar has promoted locally based Jeff Axtell to the position of VP of acquisitions and development. Axtell will be responsible for overseeing the firm's investment and development strategies in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington which includes acquisitions, repositioning of assets and dispositions.
In addition, GlobeSt.com has learned that over the next two years, Vestar plans to acquire approximately $750 million in value-added retail properties on the West Coast through its commingled fund, Vestar Strategic Retail Partners. Additionally, the firm will look to acquire and develop urban infill land sites in select markets.
Axtell tells GlobeSt.com that he will be focused on finding properties in cities and surrounding communities in those regions mentioned above, such as Seattle/Tacoma; Washington; Portland; Las Vegas and all of the major cities in California.
Axtell says that he is seeing properties that “have been hurt by tenant vacancies from bankruptcy, downsizing etc., or centers that were not properly merchandised originally.” He adds that he is looking for “challenged properties with solid fundamentals” to reposition and remerchandise into successful centers.
“We are only looking at open air shopping centers,” he says. He adds that “centers should have at least one anchor tenant and the center should be at least 100,000 square feet.”
The firm is looking to have a minimum equity investment of $10 million. “The projects need to be a value-add proposition whereby we may achieve a minimum of a 15% levered IRR over a five- to seven-year year hold period.”
In terms of the financing structure, Axtell tells GlobeSt.com that Vestar is “open to purchasing all cash or on a levered basis. On a levered basis we will be at approximately 60% financed.”
Axtell joined Vestar in 1997 as project director and has been responsible for the acquisition of $220 million of retail centers including the District at Green Valley Ranch and Riverside Plaza. Additionally, he has been responsible for the development of more than five million square feet of centers including the District at Tustin Legacy, Long Beach Towne Center, Chino Spectrum Towne Center, Pico Rivera Towne Center and Cerritos Towne Center.
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