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ORLANDO-Locally based Michael Collard Properties has picked up two neighborhood shopping centers in high traffic locations totaling 166,500 sf for $6.45 million or an average $38.74 per sf.

Collard paid Curry Ford Associates $3.1 million or $41.05 per sf for the 75,500-sf Curry Ford East and University Square Associates $3.35 million or $36.81 per sf for the 91,000-sf University Square Shopping Center.

Both properties are in east Orlando near the University of Central Florida’s 35,000-student campus.

Advantis Real Estate Services Co./Orlando and Charlotte-based Lat Purser & Associates represented the sellers. Orlando broker Ray Hayhurst negotiated for Michael Collard Properties.

The sales come as investors nationally, regionally and locally rush to pad portfolios with well-located assets anchored by strong grocery anchors.

“The shopping-center sector is stoked,” Therese Byrne, publisher/editor of Retail Maxim, says in a column written for Reis.com. “The capital floodgates have finally opened up after six years of ebbing tides.”

She says “this year promises to be the year of acquisitions, with a deal flow that could easily run over into 2003.” Byrne says the shopping-center sector is entering third third phase of consolidation “with investors gunning for strip centers and B-C malls.”

She says the first phase was the REIT boom of 1991-93 when many developers took their companies public. A second phase followed in 1995-97 “when capital-fortified REITs went on a wholesale acquistion spree.”

Byrne says “while it’s too early to put a price tag on total sales volume, the (buying) fervor suggests that phase three should be the sale of the century.”

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