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METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON, DC-With the Washington, DC area holding the number one spot on the National Retail Index–according to Marcus & Millichap Retail Services’ 2003 Annual Report–investment in the region has been so hot that properties are getting snapped up by the handful. Serving as evidence of the trend is Columbia, SC-based Edens & Avant’s recent acquisition of seven grocery store-anchored shopping centers from Landover, MD-headquartered Giant Food’s real estate entity GFS Realty. The retail package accounts for 653,000 sf, and while both buyer and seller are keeping mum on numbers, the centers are estimated to have sold for about $120 million.

The properties are located in the Maryland and Northern Virginia communities that are considered veritable suburbs of Washington, DC. In Virginia, Edens & Avant bought four shopping centers, including the 84,300-sf Cardinal Forest Plaza in Springfield; the 76,600-sf Elden Street Marketplace in Herndon; the 86,600-sf Lake Ridge Commons in Lake Ridge, and Manassas’s 109,600-sf Wellington Station property, which is in store for a second phase of development that will add 120,000 sf. Edens & Avant’s purchases in Maryland consist of the 130,000-sf Burtonsville Crossing in Burtonsville, the 81,500-sf Marlboro Crossroads in Upper Marlboro, and the 102,700-sf Neelsville Village Center in Germantown.

“The acquisition of these centers significantly expands Edens & Avant’s platform of Necessity Retail Centers in the Washington DC MSA where we are an active developer and strategic acquirer,” company president and chief investment officer Jodie W. McLean tells GlobeSt.com. Edens & Avant is the largest private owner of grocery-store anchored retail properties in the US. “All of these are great-performing Giant Food-stores in locations with strong fundamentals such as household income, growth and population density. This boosts the total number of our Mid-Atlantic assets to 36.”

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