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BOSTON-Investors hungry for retail product are welcoming another hefty portfolio to the CRE sales buffet, as an institutional partnership has retained the Capital Markets Group at Cushman & Wakefield to peddle eight grocery anchored shopping centers in New England. The tri-state package is jointly owned by Chicago-based Heitman and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

“It’s going to get a lot of attention,” predicts C&W senior director Geoffrey Millerd, a retail specialist whose firm has already orchestrated the landmark $510-million sale of 10 New England malls this year for the Flatley Co., and has another regional assemblage exceeding $125 million currently in play. The latest transaction is also expected to surpass $100 million, although Millerd declined to discuss pricing specifics. Joining Millerd on the sales team are C&W Capital Markets chief Robert E. Griffin Jr., principal Edward Maher and Mike D’Hemecourt. The marketing process is just now getting under way, Millerd tells GlobeSt.com.

There are a number of reasons the owners have opted to sell, Millerd explains, including the natural CRE investment deal cycle, with the partnership having owned the properties since 2001. Shaw’s Supermarkets was the original developer, and today anchors all but one of the centers, a Hannaford Brothers on Main Street in Waltham. Four more assets are located in Massachusetts in Cohasset, Easton, Hanover and Plymouth; another is in Warwick, RI; and the remaining two are in North Windham and Waterville, ME.

The timing also appears rational for a divestment, says Millerd, as plenty of money is targeting CRE in general and retail specifically thanks to a perceived measure of safety. While the product type may no longer hold title as the undisputed favorite among buyers as it did for much of the decade, with yield becoming the mantra of some investors, the CalSTERS/Heitman package is the sort of opportunity that speaks to the best of the asset class, according to the broker.

“It has a little something for everybody,” Millerd relays, including a stable, long-term tenant roster featuring the Shaw’s Supermarkets anchors. The eight centers are also well built and relatively new, and Millerd says they offer the potential for upside in certain circumstances through shadow development. Demographics are favorable for the centers, he says, which are being sold debt free.

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