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PHILADELPHIA-New York City-based Thor Equities buys Cheltenham Square Mall, the 640,177-sf enclosed shopping center on 64.9-acres at 2385 W. Cheltenham Ave., approximately eight miles north of Center City. The seller is Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group.

The center was built in 1957 and remodeled and enclosed in 1981. Anchors are Home Depot, Burlington Coat Factory, ShopRite Supermarket and Value City. It also contains an eight-screen United Artists movie theater.

Neither Thor nor Simon disclosed the purchase price and calls to both were not returned by deadline. A 2005 mid-year report from the local office of Marcus & Millichap shows a wide range of pricing, from $101 per sf to $183 per sf, for recent multi-tenant property trades and puts the median price per sf throughout the MSA at $150 per sf.

M&M predicted a drop in overall retail vacancy in this area to 8.6% and a 2.5% hike in asking rental rates to an average of $18.3 per sf by year-end. According to a July 2005 report from locally based Colliers Lanard & Axilbund, rents at centers of more than 250,000 sf that are anchored by “category killers,” such as home improvement stores and discount department stores, have risen an average of 14% since 2003. Its report puts the current average rates at between $14 per sf and $22 per sf.

Calling Cheltenham Square “an appealing one-stop destination,” in a statement, Joseph J. Sitt, Thor’s CEO, said the asset “enjoys high name recognition and an outstanding history as a shopping destination for three generations of customers in a densely populated region.” According to the statement, 575,000 people live with a five-mile radius of the center. Sitt said Thor plans to leverage its expertise in retail repositioning and investing in improvements to ensure that the “urban infill location lives up to its full potential.”

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