MELROSE PARK, IL-A partnership between NewMark Merrill Cos., based in Woodland Hills, CA, and Chicago-based GMX Real Estate Group LLC has acquired the Winston Plaza Shopping Center, 1060 Winston Plaza Dr. A sales price for the 375,000-sf shopping center was not disclosed but the partnership received a $46 million loan from PNC Bank, says Sandy Sigal, president and chief executive officer of NewMark Merrill. The seller was an “individual, locally based,” Sigal says. A cap rate was not disclosed.

Winston Plaza is on a 40 acre parcel at the corner of North Avenue and 9th Avenue, two of the main thoroughfares in Melrose Park. The center was attractive because of its location at a major intersection and across the street from a Target and Jewel Food Store in addition to the center being “surrounded by a great population base, both residential and daytime,” Sigal says. Winston Plaza is also “the largest shopping center in the trade area,” he says.

The shopping center is currently 98.6% occupied. Major occupants include Best Buy, Office Max, Foot Locker, Bally’s Health & Fitness, Marshall’s, Dollar Tree and the International House of Pancakes. NewMark Merrill plans to redevelop the center, which Sigal says he believes was constructed in the early to mid-1950s with some additional space and pads were constructed in the 1980s, and, since then, not much was done to it,” he says. Short-term renovations will include cleaning the building and repairs to the roof, lighting, walkway and asphalt. Signage will also be improved. Longer-term renovations will include exterior remodeling and some additional pads constructed, Sigal says. “It just needs to be updated, refreshed, some tenants right-sized and some additional tenants brought in,” he says. The cost of the redevelopment is estimated to cost between $6 million and $8 million and is expected to take between three to five years to complete, Sigal tells

The majority of shopping centers that NewMark Merrill owns are located in California. The company owns 40 centers in California and three in Colorado. The purchase of Winston Plaza is the second Chicagoland acquisition for NewMark Merrill. “We looked at the market and saw that there was some potential based on the demographics, the prices that are over there and the tenants that are available in that market,” he says. Last year, NewMark Merrill and GMX Real Estate also acquired the Stratford Crossing Shopping Center in Bloomingdale, IL. The 358,385-sf shopping center was acquired for $48.7 million, according to NewMark Merrill’s website.

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