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MILWAUKEE-The Manhattan real estate company Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. has acquired the Shops at Grand Avenue, the 290,000-sf retail component of a 1.5-million-sf mixed-use development here that includes a residential component, two hotels and office space. The retail space is spread across several two- and three-story buildings in Downtown.

Local industry sources tell GlobeSt.com the sale price was between $35 million and $40 million and that the seller was Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. The seller’s brokers, CB Richard Ellis EVP George Good and Gary Stein of the Placheck Co., declined comment on the sale price. An Ashkenazy executive could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

The Shops of Grand Avenue has an attached five-level, 1,748-space parking garage. Other pieces of the overall development include residential properties, a 169-room Marriott Courtyard, a 131-room Marriott Residence Inn and ASQ Office Center.

The property, previously known as Grand Avenue Mall, was built in 1977. Tenants include the Boston Store, Old Navy, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant, T.J. Maxx, Linens ‘n Things and OfficeMax, which has a building under construction. Northwestern Mutual reportedly put the property up for sale after a $30-million redevelopment between 2002 and 2004. Occupancy prior to the redevelopment was in the range of 50%. Occupancy at the time of sale was closer to 80%.

“This was a unique opportunity to acquire an irreplaceable asset in an attractive Downtown market,” says Ben Ashkenazy in a prepared statement. “The Shops of Grand Avenue serves a growing Downtown residential market, more than 100,000 office workers, nearly 40,000 nearby university students and more than six million annual visitors to Downtown Milwaukee’s hotels, convention center, sports arenas and Summerfest grounds.”

Ashkenazy reportedly has acquired approximately $1 billion worth of real estate assets throughout the US during the past 12 months. The company says it plans to purchase an additional $500-million worth by year-end 2005.

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