BIRMINGHAM, AL-A solid income stream and proven anchor tenant were the driving factors behind LaSalle Investment Management Inc.’s $33.53-million acquisition of Village at Lee Branch’s first phase. LaSalle purchased the 194,629-sf, fully leased retail space from local developer, AIG Vestavia LLC.

Located at 410 Doug Baker Blvd., the 25.52-acre first phase, developed four years ago, is part of an 86-acre mixed-use development on Birmingham’s southeast side. Village at Lee Branch’s second phase is a 301,700-sf mix of retail and entertainment, which was completed in 2004 and continues to be held by AIG Baker.

Donald MacLellan, managing director of Faris Lee Investments of Irvine, CA, says the fact that anchor tenant Publix Super Markets Inc. has 54,000 sf in a long-term lease was part of the asset’s attraction to the buyer. “Publix is an excellent grocery operator, the Number One grocery operator in the Southeast,” says MacLellan, who with Faris Lee president Richard Walter represented the Baltimore-based buyer. The seller was self-represented.

MacLellan tells that the overall tenant base has a limited lease roll, with the other major anchor, a 70,000-sf Academy Sports & Outdoors Ltd., also tied to a long-term lease. Additional tenants are Lifeway Christian Bookstores, Bryant Art Traders LLC and WineStyles.

MacLellan says LaSalle Investment is interested in acquiring the second phase, but AIG Baker hasn’t indicated an interest in selling it. The second phase includes Rave Motion Pictures and Hobby Lobby.

With the asset 100% leased, MacLellan says LaSalle Investment wasn’t looking for upside in this acquisition. “To them, it was a strong core investment with an excellent grocery anchor that’s doing very well,” he adds.

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