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Excel Trust Closes on $263M Retail Portfolio

REIT Acquires Six Shopping Centers in Southeast from Unicorp National Developments
October 22, 2012
West Broad Village in Richmond, VA
West Broad Village in Richmond, VA
Excel Trust, Inc. (NYSE: EXL), a real estate investment trust specializing in community and power centers and grocery-anchored neighborhood retail, acquired six shopping centers for approximately $262.8 million. The portfolio includes a large mixed-use property in Richmond, VA and five retail properties in Orlando, FL. All were acquired from affiliates of Unicorp National Devlopments Inc.

West Broad Village in Richmond is a mixed-use center with 385,897 square feet of retail and commercial space. The 339 apartments above the retail center are currently 98 percent rented. The retail portion is 80 percent leased to tenants including grocery anchor Whole Foods along with HomeGoods, REI, Dave & Busters and Bonefish Grill.

The five Orlando properties are located in Orange County and total nearly 319,264 square feet. Four of the properties, roughly 215,500 square feet, are wholly owned, with the REIT taking a 50-percent ownership in the fifth, which totals nearly 103,800 square feet. The agreement includes an option to purchase the remaining 50-percent interest if certain approvals are obtained. The centers are more than 95 percent leased to tenants including Walgreens, CVS, Fifth Third Bank, Regions Bank, JoS. A. Bank and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

"We are excited about the quality and earnings potential of these assets. The demographics and tenant mix are exceptional and will further strengthen and diversify our portfolio," said Gary Sabin, chairman and CEO of Excel.

Unicorp’s President and CEO, Chuck Whittall, said the sale's timing was advantageous as the Orlando-based firm has several new projects in development, including I-Shops, which involves the renovation of a 600-room Wyndham hotel and the addition of 100,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space at Sand Lake Road/International Drive in Orlando, and I-Drive Live, a 300,000-square-foot entertainment complex consisting of a 415-foot tall observation wheel and two national attractions: Madam Tussauds Wax Museum and Sea Life Aquarium. The firm is also developing a 216-unit luxury apartment project in Windermere, FL, and a pair of high-end boutique retail centers in the Central Florida area.

In an interesting side note, Matt Romney, son of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has served as Excel's senior vice president of capital markets since its formation in 2009.

The company funded the acquisition with cash on hand, an unsecured line of credit, more than 411,000 limited partnership units valued at $5.5 million, and the assumption of $62 million in mortgage debt.

No third-party brokers were reportedly involved in the direct sale. Please see CoStar COMPS #2579934 for additional information on this transaction.

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