WASHINGTON, DC-When Bruce Levin, executive director with MAC Realty Advisors, was shopping around a Glover Park mixed use project to capital sources, he noticed there were a number of institutional investors, including in REITs, that were very interested in the retail component of the project–either as co-developer or as a passive investor. In general there has been a lot of interest in urban retail, Levin tells GlobeSt.com. “It is a defensive and high barrier-to-entry play.”

This level of interest, though, was something more. The REITs looking at investing in the transaction were willing to buy into the entire project to end up with the retail component, Levin says. “They were willing to invest in the whole project to end up with the retail component.”

This particular project resonated, he says, as it is a unique property in an area that is more insulated from competition. Briefly Altus Realty Partners is acquiring and redeveloping an existing 30,000 square foot retail building in Glover Park. An 81-unit residential building with a two-level garage on the existing rear parking lot will also be developed at the site.

MAC helped Altus Realty secure $39 million for the deal–$11 million in equity and a $28 million limited recourse senior construction loan. “This is one of only two projects in the Wisconsin Ave. Corridor slated to be under construction during 2013,” Levin says. “It is a very good market in terms of performance and it is very defensive – there are high barriers to entry and almost no pipeline.” Levin declined to talk about the specific ROI for this project but did say investors in such projects are typically looking for an ROI in the mid-to-upper teens.”