KENILWORTH, NJ-With the locally based Kay Realty Services as its partner, the Tucson, AZ-based Holualoa Cos. has entered the Garden State’s retail real estate market in a big way, snapping up four community shopping centers totaling just under 400,000 sf. Company officials would not disclose the sale price nor the identity of the sellers.

And Holualoa is calling its latest acquisition the “Parkway Portfolio,” because all four properties are located just off the Garden State Parkway in South Jersey’s Ocean and Atlantic counties. Kay Realty Services will lease and manage for newly acquired assets.

“We saw a tremendous opportunity in New Jersey because the scarcity of developable land is creating growth pressure well south of the established suburban settlement pattern,” explains Michael Perlman, a Holualoa VP. Though transplanted to the West Coast for 20 years, Perlman is Brooklyn, NY-born and a longtime New Jersey resident who has “caught up to current events quickly in preparing my acquisition strategy.”

“The ‘smart growth’ plan [of Gov. James McGreevey] makes existing property that much more appealing,” adds Kay Realty president Bill Klein. “Of course, New Jersey also represents special challenges, but it’s a great market because incomes are high and the population is dense, which is the perfect combination for retailers.”

The four newly acquired properties include the 120,000-sf, Super G- and Rite Aid-anchored Whiting Town Center in Manchester Township; the 155,000-sf, Kmart-anchored Toms River Town Center in Toms River; and the 101,000-sf Smithville Town Center in Galloway Township. The smallest of the properties is the 17,000-sf, OceanFirst Bank-anchored Lakeridge Shopping Center in Dover Township, which was built five years ago to serve the 2,600-home Lakeridge residential community.

Holualoa, which has retail and office interests in the western states and Paris, was founded by the New Jersey-raised Michael Kasser. The company takes its name, interestingly, from the early Hawaiian sport of riding smoothed tree trunks down solidified lava channels.

“We like the idea that you can control a wild ride and turn it into something memorable and fun,” Perlman says. “The properties that we’ve purchased each have something of a wild ride in them, ‘Seabiscuit-style’–a little neglected but ready to be redeemed for the strength of their inherent qualities.”

Holualoa and Kay are “actively searching for additions to our portfolio,” according to Perlman. “That includes industrial and office property, and we expect to purchase land for development.”

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