American Realty Advisors Grabs Boston-Area Retail Center

The company paid $206 million to acquire the 400,000-square-foot University Station.
University Station, Boston

University Station, Boston

BostonUniversity Station’s strategic location is among the reasons cited by executives with American Realty Advisors for acquiring the 400,000-square-foot- retail center in a Boston suburb for $206 million from Westwood Marketplace Holdings LLC.

The retail center is a newly constructed asset within a 130-acre live/work/play development in Westwood, Mass., with 2.1 million square feet of retail, residential, office and hospitality uses. The retail portion of University Station is anchored by a Wegmans supermarket, Target and Lifetime Fitness. Other national tenants include Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls and PetSmart.

New England Development will continue to serve as the management and leasing agent for the retail center, which opened in March 2015.

The seller was represented by Robert Griffin Jr., who was with Cushman & Wakefield and is now with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.

The property services an area comprising at least 13 towns and approximately 214,700 residents with an annual average household income of more than $121,000. It is located about 15 miles from downtown Boston and close to Interstate 95 and Route 128, as well as an Amtrak/MBTA commuter rail station.

“These factors add to the appeal of the property and indicate that the region is poised to perform well over time,” Scott Anderson, director with American Realty Advisors’ Investment Group, said in a prepared statement. “Further, University Station is a transit-oriented destination that will draw consumers from across the region on a consistent basis.”

Anderson said the property “represents a high quality addition to our existing portfolio” and the firm would “continue to identify opportunities to drive value in this premier core asset.”

Martha Shelley, senior portfolio manager at the Glendale, Calif.-based real estate investment management firm, added that University Station fits the company’s core investment strategy of “acquiring assets in supply constrained markets which are transit oriented and unique.”

She noted that, “the limitations on growth and development in this market provide us with a margin of safety for our investment strategy as well as providing strong upside potential based on its strategic location within a newly constructed premier mixed-use development, its national tenancy and proximity to major transit, and the attractive demographics of the surrounding trade area.”

American Realty Advisors has more than $7.5 billion in assets under management. The firm manages capital for institutional investors and acquires assets directly or provides equity, preferred equity, mezzanine debt, debt and hybrid debt to primary investors and developers for office, industrial, multi-family and retail properties.

Earlier this summer, the firm acquired 1KFulton, a 10-story office building at 1000 W. Fulton Market in Chicago’s West Loop, from Sterling Bay for $257 million. The 531,000-square-foot property that was the former Fulton Cold Storage building now serves at Google’s Midwest headquarters.

In January, American Realty Advisors expanded its mixed-use portfolio with the purchase of Criterion on the Promenade in downtown Santa Monica, Calif., from a joint venture between Metropolitan Pacific Capital and an opportunistic commingled fund managed by Clarion Partners. The price was not released. The property included 30,046 square feet of retail space; 22,935 square feet of office space and 32 studio and one-bedroom apartments. Victoria’s Secret and Brookstone were among the major retail tenants.

Image courtesy of Gene St. Pierre