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NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL-The seller needed a quick sale and that’s what BlackRock Realty Advisors of Miami provided to an affiliate of Victory Investments Inc., owner of the 17-year-old, 79%-leased, 60,631-sf Ocean Village neighborhood shopping center, about 60 miles northeast of Downtown Orlando.

BlackRock brokers Anthony Blanco and Dennis Carson marketed the property at the intersection of A1A and Matthews Avenue in Volusia County to a select group of investors. Several offers came in and the deal was done in 90 days.

SouthEast Property Associates of Deerfield Beach bought the asset for $3.45 million or $57 per sf. Three unimproved outparcels facing A1A and the ocean were part of the deal. The parcels, each less than an acre, are .60 acres, .65 acres and .78 acres. Food Lion anchors the center which has asking average rents of $10 to $12 per sf.

“The property was offered (for sale) due to the fact that a non-recourse mortgage had come due and the owner did not wish to refinance,” Blanco tells GlobeSt.com.

He says the retail investment market in Florida “continues to be very strong with buyers far outnumbering sellers. This, together with the historically low interest rate environment, has resulted in record high pricing for shopping centers.”

Blanco tells GlobeSt.com “many investors have recently sold properties to capitalize on the higher demand, but have found themselves unable to locate exchange properties and faced large tax liabilities.” He says “these investors have, in turn, been forced to re-invest at prices they normally would not have purchased at, in order to avoid tax consequences, as well as for the lack of other investment alternatives.”

Additionally, Blanco says REITs “have seen a surge in their stock prices and continue to aggressively pursue most high-quality centers located in primary markets throughout the state. Again, buyers far outweigh sellers at this point.”

The broker says the Orlando area “continues to be one of the most sought-after retail markets in the state.” The reason: Orlando is projected to lead the state in population growth between 2000 and 2010 “and rank 13th nationally in this category,” Blanco says. The Orlando market also ranks eighth nationally in projected retail sales per household growth through 2010, the broker says.

Smaller markets near Orlando, such as Melbourne and New Smyrna Beach, are “also receiving increased attention, as investors look to surrounding areas for less pricey real estate investment alternatives,” Blanco adds.

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