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PHOENIX-A Scottsdale investment firm has picked up the keys to an award-winning, inner-city shopping center in a $14.3 million deal that gave the new owners a thriving, 111,411-sf grocery-anchored plaza in an area that had once been filled with empty storefronts.

Sunnyslope Village Center, which won the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2000 Orchid Award for community improvement, was sold to ALRO Investors LLC of Scottsdale three years after A&C Properties, managing partner for owner Sunnyslope Village Center, LLC, began turning a string of deserted storefronts into a major shopping mecca.

Lee & Associates’ Jan Fincham, who along with Patrick Dempsey, negotiated the deal for the seller, tells GlobeSt.com that the redeveloped shopping plaza on the southwest corner of Central and Dunlap avenues provided a major asset to this working-class enclave, which had not seen a new grocery store open in years.

“It’s in an area that the city of Phoenix is trying to redevelop and became a great infill location for them,” Fincham said.

The shopping center, which now houses a Food City, Greenbacks Dollar Store, Hollywood Video, Sally Beauty Supply, and Mattress Firm, was just a string of vacant lots and deserted storefronts in 1999 when A&C Properties approached the city with an offer to help in the area’s revitalization.

Working with city officials and neighborhood organizations, the developer worked out the details of the plaza and purchased the parcels at a below-market cost from the city.

“It was a nice combined effort between city government, the neighborhoods and the developer,” Fincham said.

A&C Properties’ subsidiary, Sunnyslope Village Center LLC, sold the property to ALRO Investors LLC earlier this week as part of its investment strategy of buying distressed properties, rehabbing them and then selling the stabilized buildings.

ALRO Investors represented themselves in the transaction.

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