ATLANTA—When you talk to retail gurus across the Southeast—andeven in many parts of the United States—you'll hear a similarstatement: It's hard to find good shopping centersto purchase. That's one reason why sales of Publix-anchored grocerystores always seem to get a lot of reader interest. Folks want tosee who landed the prize.

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GlobeSt.com caught up with Gary Saykaly, seniordirector at Franklin Street's Atlanta office, toget his insights into what's going on with shoppingcenter sales—specifically why it's so difficult forinvestors to find quality centers to purchase—in part two of thisinterview series. You can still read part one: Three Retail Real Estate Trends for 2015.

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GlobeSt.com: How difficult is it for investors tofind shopping centers to purchase?

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Saykaly: In today'sdemand-strong and supply-short market, it is extremely difficultfor investors to find shopping centers to purchaseon-market and, more specifically, off-market.

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GlobeSt.com: You say “extremely difficult.” Are weat bidding war level?

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Saykaly: From a demand standpoint for listedassets, the sheer number of investors who are signingconfidentiality agreements and making bids on viableretail offerings is at least triple the historiclevel—making it extremely difficult for many investors to competeas the competitive bidding frenzy is pushing pricing to newlevels.

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GlobeSt.com: How has this affected the REIT strategyin this sector?

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Saykaly: The supply of larger core assets indominant markets with great demographics—the product of choice forinstitutions and REITs—is light, and if they are sold, they mightnot hit the market due to a private placement approach, a privatelynegotiated transaction that is relationship-based, or a partialinterest sale. As a result, many public REITs are currently moreactive in entity-level or merger-and-acquisition situations, thelatest being the announced purchase of AmREIT byEDENS.

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