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TAMPA, FL-Cushman & Wakefield of Florida Inc. brokers Mark Gilbert and Adam Feinstein have chalked up $320 million of investment sale transactions in Florida over the past 12 months, including seven retail deals valued at over $20 million.

Their latest deal was the $20.3-million sale of the Shoppes of Carrollwood and Colonial Square, both in the affluent Carrollwood section of the metro area. The Miami-based brokers negotiated for Schiff-Turnberry Properties which sold the centers, totaling 153,817 sf, to Fidelity Management Corp., headed by investor Lawrence Mendelson, for $132 per sf, the highest per-sf retail price posted in the Tampa Bay area this year. Seller and buyer are both from Miami.

“Investor interest in the properties was high, given the irreplaceable location and the obvious success of the businesses located in the centers,” says Gilbert, C&W’s senior director of financial services. “Few retail investment transactions in the Tampa Bay area exceed $20 million per year.”

The two properties are located on North Dale Mabry Highway between Fletch Avenue and Ehrlich Road. Built in 1985, the Shoppes of Carrollwood totals 105,775 sf and has a tenant roll that includes USA Baby, Bally Total Fitness, Abby Health Food and Starbucks Coffee. Colonial Square, completed in 1982, is a heavily trafficked retail strip totaling 48,042 sf. Blockbuster Video is the anchor.

“Situated along Dale Mabry in the heart of Carrollwood, these properties unequivocally have one of Tampa’s prime retail locations,” Gilbert says. “Dale Mabry is Tampa’s main retail corridor and is considered an essential location for national retailers looking to serve the Tampa market. Carrollwood is one of Tampa’s most exclusive suburbs and retailers love the area because of its combination of population density and high-income levels.”

The sale of the two retail centers highlights a new investment retail trend, the brokers are seeing. Feinstein, C&W’s director of financial services, points to a sharp increase in investor interest over the past four months for non-institutional quality retail centers such as the Shoppes of Carrollwood and Colonial Square.

“Such properties are generating as many as 15 to 20 offers from credible investors,” the broker says. “We have seen this type of investor frenzy for the Publix-anchored centers for some time, but this type of interest in the non-Publix centers is relatively recent, and we attribute it to a staggering amount of capital chasing real estate.”

Feinstein says the sale of the two centers went quickly because buyer and seller were motivated to do the deal. The properties were marketed for 45 days. From contract signing to closing was another 75 days. The average asking base rent range is $15 per sf to $24 per sf.

“Schiff-Turnberry acquired the properties a little over two years ago with the intent of quickly stabilizing the asset to facilitate a sale,” he says. “They have done a terrific job raising the occupancy in a short period of time and generally upgrading the quality of the tenancies, which has allowed them to take advantage of today’s exceptionally strong investment market.”

On the buyer’s side, Fidelity Management acquires “exceptionally well-located, successful neighborhood retail centers that will offer a secure and growing income stream over a long holding period,” Feinstein predicts. Fidelity represented itself in the transaction.

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