JACKSONVILLE, FL-In the largest shopping center sale here since 1997, Houston-based Weingarten Realty Advisors purchased the 305,000-sf, 17-year-old, 97%-leased Argyle Village Square Shopping Center from Euro American Advisors, a Tampa, FL-based Dutch partnership, for $22.4 million or $73.68 per sf.

The acquistion marks Weingarten’s entry to the Jacksonville, FL market, one of the largest in Florida. The purchase also increases Weingarten’s Florida portfolio to eight retail properties totaling 1.8 million sf.

The leading retail REIT in Florida, on the acquisition side this year alone, is Inland Retail Real Estate Trust Inc. of Oakbrook, IL. Inland has 21 retail properties totaling 2.5 million sf throughout the state. Inland has been paying an average $100 per sf for its acquisitions since June of this year, according to the company’s published figures.

The Argyle center at the southwest quadrant of Interstate 295 and Blanding was developed in 1984 and re-developed in 1998. The anchors are Publix Supermarket, T.J. Maxx, Babies R Us and Service Merchandise.

Karl M. Johnston, Cushman & Wakefield’s financial services group’s director, negotiated for Euro American which set up Argyle Village Shopping Center LP as the buyer of record.

In the land transaction, Weingarten purchased a five-building, 962,800-sf bulk warehouse portfolio from National Life Insurance Co. of Montpelier, VT for $24.4 million or $25.34 per sf.

The assets are a three-building, 600,000-sf warehouse in the Lakeland Industrial Center, Lakeland, FL, 45 miles south of Downtown Orlando; and a two-building 362,800-sf property at 6485 Crescent Drive in Norcross, GA. Home Depot, Publix and Perrier are the anchors.

Mike Davis, Cushman & Wakefield’s senior director, negotiated for National Life.

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