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NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, TX-A private investment company from Los Angeles that wishes to remain anonymous has sold the 99,331-sf Rufe Snow Village shopping center at 6238-6244 Rufe Snow Dr. in this Dallas suburb. The buyer, which bought the 9.3-acre property in an off-market deal for more than $8 million, was the Lamar Cos. of Morristown, NJ.The deal was brokered by Eric Werner and Kevin Fryman, vice presidents with Hanley Investment Group Real Estate Advisors in Irvine, CA, who brought the parties together and handled both sides of the transaction. According to the former, the seller is a “low-key company that prefers to fly below the radar” by keeping its name out of the press. Its principals also prefer, if possible, not to list their properties but work through brokers’ established client relationships.The 17-year-old property was 85% occupied at the time of sale by tenants such as 99 Cents Only, Aaron Rents, American General Finance, Baskin Robbins, Jackson Hewitt and Shear Cuts. But Werner says rumors that one of the anchor tenants might be closing down its Texas stores due to below-par sales prompted the owner to put it on the block. “The seller didn’t want the risk, but the buyer was willing to take it on despite the possibility of losing an anchor,” he tells GlobeSt.com.In addition, Werner continues, the seller had owned the retail complex for four years, which he describes as “pretty much on the back end of their hold criteria.” Typically, he says, the companybuys underperforming assets, upgrades them to market and holds them for three to five years before cashing out. He also says the seller is looking to exit the Texas market in favor of other unspecified markets it believes will offer greater opportunities during the current economic downturn.On its website, the buyer describes itself as a turnaround specialist that strives to unlock properties’ unmet potential. Lamar’s 11-state portfolio, which is heavily weighted toward states east of the Mississippi River, includes another North Richland Hills asset, the 369,677-sf Richland Centre, anchored by Sports Authority and Ashley Furniture Homestore. The company also owns the 178,335-sf Garden Park shopping center in nearby Lewisville, TX. According to Werner, the buyer’s knowledge of the market significantly contributed to its willingness to take a chance on the potential anchor loss.Under the terms of the deal, Lamar was able to take over an existing $6 million loan provided by Bank of America. The loan, which terminates in 2014, has 5.75% interest rate and 30-year amortization schedule. Werner says the purchase was made with cash from a recent 1031 exchange sale.

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