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LAKEWOOD, NJ-The Lightstone Group, based here, has closed on the sale of a portfolio of a half-dozen shopping centers totaling 720,000 sf in three states. Buyer WP Realty bought the assets for $16 million, or just more than $22 per sf. WP Realty is a Bryn Mawr, PA-based company that specializes in grocery-anchored shopping centers in general and value-add deals in particular.

“The acquisition represented an opportunity to acquire underperforming assets at substantially below replacement costs,” says a WP spokesman. “We specialize in taking underperforming centers and turning them around.”

“This transaction fits the scope of WP’s existing real estate portfolio, enhancing its presence in the retail sector in Pennsylvania and New York,” says Matthew Weilheimer, vice president at the Kislak Co., Woodbridge, who represented the buyer. “And the acquisition of a center in Alabama marks their entry into that market. They are planning a major renovation program at all the centers with the goal of attracting more national retailers to the sites.”

Specifically, the portfolio includes four properties in Pennsylvania: the 92,000-sf, Kmart-anchored Circle Plaza in Shamokin Dam; the 99,000-sf Shamokin Plaza in Shamokin; Kingston Plaza, a 65,000-sf property in Kingston; and Plaza 15, a 120,000-sf property anchored by Save-A-Lot in Lewisburg. The other two centers are Midway Plaza, a 207,000-sf Office Depot-anchored center in Opelika, AL; and Troy Plaza, a 131,000-sf center anchored by Big Lots in Troy, NY.

Kislak also represented Lightstone in the transaction, with the firm’s president and co-managing director Jeffrey Wiener sitting on the other side of the table. It’s also the second time in less than five years that Kislak has been involved in a sale of the six properties: In 2002, they were part of a 17-center portfolio that Kislak sold to Lightstone.

“Because this is the second time we have sold these properties, our knowledge and familiarity of the marketplace was an asset in finding the right buyer,” Wiener says, noting that his firm had the exclusive listing as the properties went back on the market. “We’re thrilled to once again be able to help Lightstone.”

Post-sale, Lightstone still owns a portfolio encompassing some 30 million sf of commercial and retail space in 25 states, as well as more than 20,000 apartments. WP Realty’s holdings include more than seven million sf of commercial space in the Northeast and 550 apartment units in South Jersey.

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