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KATY, TX-An affiliate of locally based Martin Fein Interests has sold the 80,883-sf Westlake Shopping Center to NewQuest Properties. The property was marketed at $5.4 million.

The final purchase price was “close to the asking price, somewhat south of it,” Dean Lane, a development partner with NewQuest, tells GlobeSt.com. George Cushing and Paula Foster of Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Houston office represented the seller, MF Partners Ltd., while Lane handled talks for the buyer of the 21-year-old development at 19734 Saums Rd.

Leasing capacity at the time of the closing was 87%, with seven tenants and a dark 52,250-sf anchor spot. “The Randalls has been gone for about three years or so,” says Cushing, senior vice president with Grubb & Ellis, “but the buyer had tenants in hand at the time of the closing.”

One of the tenants is 24-Hour Fitness, which has signed a lease for 30,000 sf. “We’re currently taking down the west side and turning it into spaces for smaller tenants,” Lane says. “We’re in the remodeling phase now. Once we have it designed, we’ll go with marketing it.”

The reason for the purchase of the property, Lane adds, was to accommodate the 24-Hour Fitness. “We do a lot of business with them. They already have a presence in the southern part of the area. They wanted to be north of I -10. We were scouting out sites for awhile and this one made sense.”

Fein, in the meantime, sold the retail site to focus on its core business–multifamily development. “Fein is an apartment developer of long standing and with a good reputation,” Cushing says. “They’re not a retail operator.”

Cushing says the Westlake property was the last of three retail assets to be sold from Fein’s portfolio. “I think the retail component was a side adventure for them and not part of their business model,” Cushing adds.

According to Cushing, the property also will provide an excellent investment for NewQuest in addition to providing a location with strong potential for 24-Hour Fitness. “The Fry Road corridor is having an explosion in residential development and has a very strong retail component,” he says.

Cushing predicts that, in the hands of the new owner, Westlake should do quite well because of NewQuest’s experience along with the growth of the West Houston area. “The thing languished for awhile, but I expect the outcome when all is said and done will be a great redevelopment and a vital shopping center that will be in demand,” he says.

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