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JERSEY CITY-This past summer, Wilshire Enterprises, based here, put its remaining Garden State real estate assets on the block, hoping to sell the multi-property group as a portfolio. Wilshire put a price tag of $26.5 million on the package. But the properties have begun selling one by one, and the biggest of them, the Wilshire Grand Hotel and Banquet Facility in West Orange, appears ready to move.

Wilshire Enterprises officials have announced that they are under contract to sell the asset for $12.75 million to an investor group that has not been identified. The deal is expected to close by December 29, although “the acquirer may extend the closing date until March 28, 2006 by increasing the deposit from the initial $1 million…to $1.2 million,” according to a statement issued by the company.

Wilshire officials also confirm that they are under contract to sell two of the other assets in the portfolio, the 41-unit Galsworthy Arms Condominiums in Monmouth County and the Rutherford Bank branch on 1.8 acres in Lake Hopatcong. The contracts are with two separate buyers. The remaining properties on the block include the 132-unit Alpine Village apartment complex in Sussex County and a 17.5-acre adjacent site, the 18-unit Jefferson Gardens Condominiums and a half-acre site in West Orange.

As reported by GlobeSt.com, selling the properties is part of an effort by Wilshire to focus on real estate in such Sun Belt states as Arizona, Florida and Texas. “The divestiture of the New Jersey portfolio reflects our strategy of rationalizing our investment portfolio into a few core markets,” said Sherry Wilzig Izak, the company’s chairman/CEO, in August, in announcing that the properties were on the block.

But concurrent with the pending sale of the Wilshire Grand Hotel, company officials say they have listed a number of Texas residential properties for sale, both in San Antonio. On the block are the 228-unit Wellington Estate, listed with an asking price of $8.25 million, and the 180-unit Summercreek Apartments, with a price tag of $7 million. Wilshire has enlisted Grubb & Ellis to sell them either as a portfolio or separately.

“These actions are indicative of our previously stated objective to optimize the valuation of our asset base,” Izak says. “Over the past year, we have been investing in and repositioning select assets in anticipation of a potential divestiture of these assets at an improved valuation.

As far as the sale of the Wilshire Grand, the company has also signed an agreement with the unnamed buyer for the latter to lease and operate the catering facility until the sale closes. The buyer has also agreed to make certain improvements to the facility. Wilshire Enterprises is the former Wilshire Oil Co. of Texas, which exited that business a number of years ago to focus on real estate investment and development.

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