BELLMEAD, TX-In its first retail play in the area, a Los Angeles-based company has acquired the 111,278-sf Eastgate Commons. The new owner will renovate and lease up the 47-year-old asset while searching for similar office, retail and industrial properties to buy in the area.

BH Properties LLC has paid $2.5 million to Guthrie Associates of Waco for the HEB shadow-anchored center at 2300-2700 E. Waco Dr. The buyer says it plans to invest an additional $1 million into upgrades, which will include a new roof, facade and resurfaced parking lot.

According to McLennan County tax records, the center is situated on 7.05 acres, with 3.8 acres of abutting land. BH Properties’ executive vice president and general counsel Steven Jaffe acknowledges the deal included land for extra development, but he says there are no plans right now to expand the 93%-leased center.

“We’re focused on repositioning the center at this point because it was in dire need of some attention,” Jaffe says, adding that improvements will take one year to complete. “The current owners realized that, to make this center work, it would need a significant amount of capital and they decided not to take that on [the center's expansion].”

Jaffe tells that there is no major lease rollover for one year. In fact, two new tenants have been signed: Citi Trends for 12,000 sf and O’Reilly Auto Parts for 7,000 sf. The quoted lease rate is $12 per sf. Tisha Billelo with Henry S. Miller Commercial in Dallas is leasing the center and Frank Cromwell of the Cromwell Co. is its property manager.

Jaffe says BH Properties’ management is actively looking for more investments in and around Waco because of its core fundamentals for job and population growth. “Once we’re in a market, we try to buy more in that market because of economies of scale,” Jaffe explains. “We’re in a lot of secondary and tertiary markets in Texas.”

BH Properties was represented in-house by Scott Henry, regional acquisitions director. Guthrie Associates was represented by Jon Spelman of Jon Spelman Co. in Waco.

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