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ROSENBERG, TX-A grocery-anchored shopping plaza that drew stiff competition from investment circles has been sold to a Baltimore-based group for close to its $11.1-million asking price. In all, 23 potential buyers were jockeying for the property.

Rosenberg Station LLC, led by the Phillips Edison Group, picked up the Kroger-anchored center at 5101 Ave. H in Rosenberg, although it wasn’t the top offer on the table. George Cushing, senior vice president with Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Houston office, tells GlobeSt.com that the buyers’ previous relationship with seller MF Partners I Ltd., an affiliate of Martin Fein Interests, helped to seal the deal.

“They were in the competitive circle of high bidders,” Cushing says. “The buyer had purchased another asset from the seller a year earlier and that was material in the decision.” It was the earlier purchase of the 117,779-sf Quail Valley Center in Missouri City for close to the $7.3-million ask that solidified Phillip Edison’s position that it would make good on its offer, he adds.

The latest acquisition is a 113,43-sf property that’s 89% occupied by national names like Famous Footwear and Cingular Wireless along with local retailers. A Cinemark USA takes up 16,016 sf. The 56,164-sf Kroger Signature store is leased through 2012.

Cushing says competition for the plaza was particularly tough because the grocery anchor made it a solid buy. “The grocery anchor offers a bit of stability to the property. It mitigates the risk factor,” he says, adding the chain’s long-term lease and the plaza’s upside potential also made it an attractive commodity for buyers in the Houston area’s hot investment market.

Cushing and Grubb & Ellis vice president Paula Foster handled the transaction for the seller. The buyer’s in-house representatives were negotiating for its fourth Texas center. The Phillips Edison-led group also owns the Miramar Shopping Center in Seabrook and Towne Crossing Station in Mesquite plus it has plazas in 22 other states.

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