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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

HUDSON, FL-Community Reinvestment Partners II LP has acquired Fairway Oaks, a 79,283-sf, Publix-anchored shopping center at the southeast corner of Little Road and Hudson Avenue, for $7.6 million. The fund was launched by a joint venture between Atlanta-based Forge Capital Partners LLC and Tampa-based DeBartolo Development Inc. to develop, acquire, renovate and reposition retail real estate in the Southeast.

“Publix’s sales at the property were strong and this was a key factor in driving investor interest in the deal,” said Karl Johnston, senior director with Cushman & Wakefield in Jacksonville, which represented the seller in the transaction. “In the current economic environment, deals are taking longer to complete and require seller and buyer to work together to resolve the myriad of issues that typically arise in the sale of a retail center,” he added.

The seller was Jacksonville-based Case Pomeroy Properties, a private real estate investment company. Fairway Oaks was 84% occupied at the time of sale, with Publix supermarket taking up 42,323 sf. Average rental rates at the center are $15 per sf.

Ted Anglyn, director of acquisitions for Forge Capital, tells GlobeSt.com that the fund decided to purchase Fairway Oaks because they felt good about the long-term opportunities at the center and were able to buy it below replacement cost. Exterior upgrades and capital improvements are planned for the center, which was built in 1994. “We will be improving the physical plant as we do with all of our properties to position it better for the future,” says Anglyn.

CRP II will actively pursue investments in Orlando and South Florida, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas, with its next upcoming purchase in Jacksonville, says Anglyn. The joint venture’s first acquisition took place this January in Lehigh Acres with the 111,189-sf Sunshine Shopping Plaza for $8.9 million, or $79.92 per sf.

According to a release, CRP II has raised more than $90 million from investors such as TIAA-CREF, Regions Bank and Wachovia Bank. The fund targets retail ranging from 75,000 to 250,000 sf, located in or near low-to-moderate income census tracts.

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