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BEDFORD, NH-The evolution of a 1970s era mall here is shifting to another stage, as its New York City-based ownership has opted to put the 270,000-sf complex up for sale. The Bedford Mall is being offered in the $30-million range, says Geoffrey Millerd of Cushman & Wakefield, whose firm has been hired by Emmes & Co. to market the asset.

“It’s very good real estate,” Millerd tells GlobeSt.com, citing a location in the heart of southern New Hampshire, with access to two main thoroughfares, Routes 101 and 293. The value of the in-fill property at 73 South River Rd. is evidenced by both the mall’s prime tenants, Millerd says, as well as the bevy of nationally known retailers that have flocked to nearby parcels. The Bedford Mall roster includes Bob’s Stores, Linen’s ‘n Things, Marshalls, Outback Steakhouse and Staples, whereas a Super Stop N’ Shop just opened across the street. Lowe’s Home Improvement and Target are other neighbors.

“Bedford is a really attractive community,” says Millerd. “It’s a place [retailers] want to be.” The retail investment sales specialist is handling the assignment for Emmes & Co. on a team including C&W principal Edward Maher Jr. and Michael d’Hemecourt. Southern New Hampshire has one of New England’s fastest growing populations, notes Millerd, as its proximity to Boston 50 miles south has allowed it to become a bedroom community in recent years. Nearby Manchester and Nashua, meanwhile, are recovering strongly from a difficult start to the decade, with the economic rebound leading to further confidence in the area.

The Bedford Mall marketing is being launched at a time of unrest in the commercial real estate capital arena, while retail in general is being further disrupted by credit issues that have some concerned consumers might be curbing their spending ways. Despite that jittery climate, Millerd says the product segment remains a popular choice among investors. While acceding that debt has become more expensive and increasingly difficult to secure, he says plenty of equity investors are pursuing retail assets, especially those bearing upside such as the Bedford Mall.

Besides steady income from the successful strip center component, Millerd explains that the new owner will be able redevelop the enclosed mall, which is presently shuttered. “It’s a unique opportunity,” he says. “There’s a lot that can be done with it.” One possibility, he says, is to incorporate elements of a life-style center, the retailing model sweeping the national shopping landscape. Lifestyle centers are being pursued in other parts of the Merrimack Valley, and Millerd says the Bedford Mall could be a candidate.

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