Firoozabadi: Overbuilding not an
issue yet for Bethesda.

BETHESDA, MD-Bethesda is likely to see yet more retail development via Equity One’s plans to acquire Westwood Complex–a 22-acre property here with significant opportunities for retail redevelopment and expansion. The acquisition is part of a four-asset purchase the REIT is making for a total of $260 million. The other three properties are in New York City.

Westwood consists of 214,767 square feet of retail anchored by a Giant Food, a 211,020-square-foot apartment building and a 62-unit assisted-living facility. The transaction is initially structured as a $95-million mortgage loan, which has been funded. The acquisition will be completed with an outright purchase for $140 million with an anticipated closing before January 2014. Equity One declined to comment beyond the press release.

The Giant lease expires in 2019. The apartment building is leased to a division of Montgomery County and is subject to a purchase right in 2017, which is expected to be exercised. The assisted-living facility is leased to Manor Care Health Services through 2015 with no term remaining.

Any redevelopment Equity One might be planning will be joining a slew of other projects under way in the popular, high-income submarket. There are at least a dozen major projects underway in Downtown Bethesda alone. Overbuilding is not a concern, however; demand is very strong for services in Bethesda, Ari Firoozabadi, principal with the Greysteel Co., tells GlobeSt.com.

“The demographics speak for themselves,” he says, pointing to an average household income of $163,000 among other signs of affluence. “Institutionally speaking, there’s a great deal of interest by developers to do more here.”