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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

HOLLYWOOD, FL- Manhasset, NY-based Milbrook Properties Ltd. has acquired Hollywood Palms Shopping Center, a 210,864-sf retail plaza, for $26.5 million. The Publix-anchored property is located at the intersection of Taft Street and North 68th Avenue.

“This sale is part of a positive [retail] trend that will establish value benchmarks allowing buyers to gauge pricing, which will benefit the overall investment market,” says Adam Feinstein of Cushman & Wakefield, who represented seller Hollywood Palms LLC in the deal. The previous owner-backed by Daryl Stair, president of Plantation-based Stair’s Management-added value to the property through renovations, an improved tenant lineup and additions over the four years it owned the property.

The center underwent major renovations in 2000 when a new anchor store was built for Publix, as well as a freestanding building for Walgreen’s, Feinstein tells GlobeSt.com. Another 20,000 sf was added this year to the center, which is now 94% leased and also anchored by Goodwill Industries, Bealls Outlet, Dollar General and Rent-A-Center.

Leasing rates at the center were not released. The property is part of the Dania/Hollywood submarket of Fort Lauderdale, which enjoys the highest effective rental rates in the market at $20 per sf, according to Marcus & Millichap’s second-quarter retail report. Vacancy rates in the submarket are at 7.6%, up nearly two percentage points over the past year.

Transaction activity has slowed in the Fort Lauderdale metro area as a result of the credit market climate, according to Marcus & Millichap. However, this particular deal was not held back by the problems clouding the capital markets, says C&W’s Mark Gilbert, who also represented the seller. “The days of 80 percent-plus financing are gone, leaving only well-capitalized investors able to purchase properties,” he says.

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