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[IMGCAP(1)]HUNTSVILLE, AL-A 118,500-sf grocery-anchored shopping center has earned $19.8 million of first mortgage financing as the finishing touch for a two-year redevelopment play at the “main and main” crossroads in an affluent part of the city. The 75% loan-to-value financing has a 10-year term and fixed-rate interest of roughly 6%.

The Village of Whitesburg, situated at 4800 Whitesburg Dr., has been overhauled inside and out during the past two years by Chase Group Partners, which developed the center 20 years ago, sold it and bought it back just as a 44,000-sf Winn-Dixie grocery was about to close, Randolph Wolfe, senior vice president and director of NorthMarq Capital Inc.’s regional office in Atlanta, tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s like a new center,” he adds.

[IMGCAP(2)]Wolfe says Chase Group, a developer with offices locally and in Birmingham, has occupancy up to 93%, with a 22,000-sf Fresh Market as the anchor. The balance of the Winn-Dixie space was divvied into boutique-size shops. He says the Greensboro, NC-based Fresh Market chain inked a 15-year lease for the project. Others like Bonefish Grill, Panera Bread Co. and AT&T are on 10-year leases.

The Village of Whitesburg sits at the crossroads of Airport Road and Whitesburg Drive, the city’s third busiest intersection, according to the owner’s marketing flyer. The NAI Chase Commercial leasing team is quoting $25 per sf for the asset’s three openings.

Wolfe says the new capital from New York City-based Citigroup replaced a bridge loan at a higher interest rate that was used to acquire and redevelop the retail prize. From application to close, the new loan took about 90 days because it was caught midway in the process by the credit crunch. “We had good interest on it, but when the credit crunch hit, it removed all the conduits,” Wolfe explains. “We had to maneuver and find the right home for it.”

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