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ATLANTA-Sales of community shopping centers are still happening for all-cash buyers seeking upside opportunities. The challenge is finding current owners who are willing to sell at current low prices, say retail brokers.

Case in point is the sale of Henderson Square, a 166,000-square-foot outdoor center in Henderson, NC, to Warrendale, PA-based H.L. Libby Corp. for $8.3 million, or $50 per square foot. The seller was Australian-based Centro Properties Group, which has been disposing of various properties to raise capital.

Tony D’Ambrosio, vice president of Atlanta-based Colliers Spectrum Cauble who represented Centro in the sale, says Henderson Square represents a strong value-add opportunity since the center is currently 81% leased. The town’s largest shopping center near Interstate 85 is anchored by Belk and JCPenney, with a Wal-Mart Supercenter nearby.

“We were fortunate to get a price that everybody was happy with,” D’Ambrosio tells GlobeSt.com, pointing out that shopping center pricing has yet to reach distress levels but still represents good value lately. He adds that seasoned buyers with strong balance sheets who can make all-cash deals, or at least cash plus recourse bank financing, are “in the catbird seat right now.”

While plenty of buyers are waiting on the sidelines to purchase retail properties, D’Ambrosio observes that sellers are still reluctant to go to market at depressed pricing, which affects the quality of assets available to investors. “It’s still tough to find something you like,” he says.

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