Hull Storey Gibson Picks Up 434 KSF Retail Mall in Virginia
With an eye toward expanding its presence in the South, Hull Storey Gibson Cos. L.L.C. has just purchased Liberty Fair Mall in Martinsville, Va. The transaction adds 434,300 square feet to the retail property owner’s portfolio.
Liberty Fair has been involved in a game of hot potato over the last few months. In late February, as reported by the Martinsville Bulletin, the property was auctioned off for $15 million to U.S. Bank National Association, which was acting as trustee for the Registered Certificate holders of J.P. Morgan Commercial Mortgage Finance Corp. Commercial Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2000 C-10.
The 23-year-old enclosed shopping center at 240 Commonwealth Blvd. is home to such national retailers as Belk, Sears, JC Penney Outlet, Kroger and Office Max, all of which serve as anchors. “With a strong framework of existing tenants in a high traffic location, Liberty Fair Mall has the potential to become a vibrant and prosperous retail facility,” said Jim Hull, a managing partner with Hull Storey Gibson. “We believe that an investment in improving the overall appearance and layout of the property will strengthen its ability to serve the community and attract customers from the surrounding areas.
Located in Southern Virginia, the mall sits approximately 50 miles south of Roanoke and 55 miles north of Winston-Salem, N.C. At home, it’s got location on its side. According to a recently released study by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, “Martinsville commerce is centered in Liberty Fair Mall and the renovated central business district.”
Hull Storey Gibson is not shy about making big entrances into tertiary markets. In March, the company purchased the 731,500-square-foot Piedmont Mall in Danville in a transaction that marked its entrée into the State of Virginia.
Nationally, Investors are still most keen on primary markets and the competition is resulting in deal activity “spilling over” into second-tier markets,” according to a recently released report by commercial real estate services firm Cassidy Turley. However, third-tier locations are not going completely ignored. The month of May brought Glimcher Realty Trust’s $67.5 million acquisition of One Nineteen, a 165,000-square-foot retail center in Leawood, Kans., approximately 20 miles south of Kansas City. And CBL & Associates Properties shelled out $91.5 million on the purchase of Dakota Square Mall in Minot, N.D. The 623,000-square-foot shopping destination sits roughly 100 miles north of the state capital of Bismarck.