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ATLANTA-Locally based Roberts Realty Investors Inc. has purchased the 30,050-sf Spectrum shopping center in Gwinnett County for $8.4 million or $279.53 per sf. Area brokers tell GlobeSt.com the per-sf price may be a near record for the acquisition of a retail property.

The center is directly across from the 1.9-million-sf Mall of Georgia, a factor that was crucial to Spectrum’s per-sf price, brokers tell GlobeSt.com. Roberts CEO Charles S. Roberts says Spectrum is 83% leased. “With the addition of Spectrum, we have more than doubled the amount of retail space we own in the Mall of Georgia sub-market and will use this to our advantage,” Roberts says in a prepared statement.

He calls Spectrum “an excellent asset, located on a heavily traveled road in a high-growth, high-profile market.” Roberts says he is confident the acquisition “will improve our operating cash flow and nearly complete our Section 1031 Exchange.” He didn’t identify the seller. The deal closed Oct. 27.

The acquisition price includes $5.3 million in debt assumption. The debt carries a fixed rate of 5.68%. The balance of the $8.4-million price was funded with proceeds from the $37.9-million May 2005 sale of the company’s Ballantyne Place residential community in Charlotte, NC.

Roberts says Spectrum is the company’s third retail center acquisition and fifth overall acquisition as part of a Section 1031 tax-deferred exchange from the Ballantyne Place sale. In September, Roberts Realty Investors purchased Grand Pavilion, a 62,323-sf retail center in Alpharetta and Bassett Shopping Center, a 19,949-sf center in Gwinnett County, as GlobeSt.com previously reported.

In June 2005, Roberts Realty bought 14.5 acres of investment property zoned for 217 residential units in the Westside mixed-use development in Alpharetta. In August, the company bought 22 acres of undeveloped land zoned for 154 residential units in Cumming. The total purchase price of these five properties was $32 million, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. The company assumed a total $20.7 million in debt with the five acquisitions.

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