The collection of stores at Lake Park Plaza in Michigan City, IN draws from a wide area

MICHIGAN CITY, IN—The Inland Real Estate Corporation has just taken another step in the effort to upgrade its portfolio. It has sold Lake Park Plaza, an 114,867-square-foot shopping center in Michigan City, IN, to RCG Ventures for an undisclosed amount. Tenants occupy about 77% of the center, and the new owners believe they can boost its value by concentrating on leasing up the space.

“That strategy fits their platform,” Janice Sellis, capital markets director at Transwestern, tells GlobeSt.com. “They like to buy centers which need improvement.” Sellis and Transwestern’s Paul Barile represented Inland, a publicly traded REIT that primarily owns and operates Midwestern retail centers, in the transaction. RCG Ventures represented itself.

However, Lake Park Plaza, located at 4301 S. Franklin St., has at times shown a good deal of strength. “I don’t really consider it to be part of the Chicago market,” Sellis says, “but it does draw customers from a very large area.” Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann Fabrics anchor Lake Park, and other national tenants include Sally Beauty Supply, Batteries Plus and H&R Block. To find a similar collection of retail, shoppers would have to travel all the way to Valparaiso, more than 20 miles to the southwest.

In fact, a portion of the center, not included in this sale, was once occupied by a Wal-Mart, but when it moved down the street about five years ago, the space was rather quickly filled by Big R, a sporting goods, clothing and outdoor family retail store.

“I think that was a testimony to the health of this market,” Sellis says. In addition, the proximity to the beaches, a local casino and the Michigan resort towns means that “Michigan City benefits from a strong, affluent tourism industry that is not represented in the demographics.”