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OCEAN SPRINGS, MS-In its first acquisition in the state, Midland Atlantic Investment Corp. has bought the 166,000-sf Parkside Square. Despite being in an area impacted by Hurricane Katrina, the buyer says it was attracted to the area’s prospects for further growth.

“In this case, we found that the tenants there were happy in that sales were rebounding and sales tax was well above what it was a year prior to Katrina,” Dave Wik, acquisitions director for the Cincinnati-based buyer, says about the property at 3100 Bienville Blvd. “Everyone’s seen a large rebound in that area.” The purchase price could not be obtained by press time.

Built in 1990, the center was sold by a major institutional owner on the East Coast represented by Doug Molyneaux of Grubb & Ellis Sawyer Commercial in Gulfport, MS. The center was 78% leased at sale time.

Wik tells GlobeSt.com that the FEMA has a 30,000-sf lease set to expire in September. “We’ll take it back when FEMA doesn’t need it any more,” he adds. “We’ve talked to a couple of retailers who are interested in being there.”

Other tenants in the center include anchor Sav-A-Center Food Market & Pharmacy as well as Aaron’s Rents Inc., Subway Restaurant and H&R Block. Midland Atlantic plans to upgrade the center and develop two pad sites, one for a 15,000-sf tenant and another in the 5,000-sf bracket. Wiks says additional upside potential will be gleaned in the lease rates, which are 10% below market rate.

Wik says Midland Atlantic is looking for additional value-add opportunities mainly in the Midwest and Southeast. While he can’t pin a hold time to Parkside Square, he says it’s often a three- to five-year turnaround time. “As a company, our acquisition strategy is to buy shopping centers in markets that look like they’re growing or rebounding,” he says.

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