Continental Realty Continues Buying Spree With $147M Deal

The Baltimore-based company acquired a 510,000-square-foot retail center in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Mount Pleasant Towne Center. Image courtesy of Continental Realty Corp.
Mount Pleasant Towne Center. Image courtesy of Continental Realty Corp.

Continental Realty Corp., a Baltimore-based real estate investment and management company, has expanded its retail holdings with the acquisition of a 510,000-square-foot open-air regional shopping center in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. The Beach Co., a Charleston, S.C.-based real estate development and investment firm, is also an investor in the acquisition. A joint venture of Miller Capital Advisory and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) sold Mount Pleasant Towne Centre for approximately $147 million.

The purchase–CRC’s second retail asset in South Carolina–is the most the company has paid for an acquisition in its 60-year history. It also owns West Ashley Shoppes, a 136,200-square-foot shopping center in Charleston.

The transaction continues CRC’s aggressive acquisition strategy fueled by Continental Realty Fund V LP, a nearly $211 million private equity fund focused on retail and multifamily properties in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the U.S. It is the sixth retail property and the eight asset overall purchased by the fund. Over the past 12 months, CRC has acquired five shopping centers comprising nearly 1.2 million square feet of space.

“This purchase continues our strategy of acquiring very well-located shopping centers where our in-house vertically integrated team can use our relationships and experience to increase occupancy, improve the tenant mix and be known as great neighbors in the communities where we operate,” CRC CEO JM Schapiro told Commercial Property Executive. “In the early 1980s, CRC owned McAlister Square, a 600,000-square-foot mall in Greenville, S.C. We are excited to once again own such a large shopping center in South Carolina.”

Stephen Livaditis, Eric Zimmermann, Michael Pagliari and Conor Lalor of Eastdil Secured represented the joint venture.

Shopping center details

The dominant open-air retail center in the Charleston market, the 51-acre Mount Pleasant Towne Centre was built in the late 1990s and has over a half-mile of frontage on U.S. Highway 17. Mount Pleasant Towne Centre, with some 70 tenants, was more than 95 percent leased at the time of sale. It is anchored by Belk, Regal Cinemas, Bed Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble, Arhaus Furniture and Old Navy. Other national tenants include Peloton, Lululemon, Bluemercury, Athleta, Ulta, Southern Tide, Francesca’s, Ann Taylor Loft and Bath & Body Works. It also has a mix of regional and local retailers and restaurants, including Savi Cucina, Copper Penny, Palmetto Moon, Lizard Thicket, Reed’s Jewelers and Hustle Smoothie Bar. CRC officials say they are close to signing several new tenants.

David Donato, CRC senior vice president of operations, said in a prepared statement that a Hyatt Place Hotel has recently been completed on the site and Regal is planning a multi-million-dollar upgrade of the movie complex. He said the company expected to see significant value-add with those enhancements along with the firm’s leasing and asset management strategy. Calling the property an institutional-quality lifestyle center, Donato also noted the center is located in a very high barrier-to-entry market that has one of Coastal Carolina’s most affluent and fastest-growing populations.

Previous deals

CRC, a privately-owned firm, owns and manages more than 5 million square feet of commercial space and almost 10,000 apartment units across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. In November, CRC acquired Mango Plaza, a 166,500-square-foot shopping center in Seffner, Fla., for $12.5 million from a joint venture of Field Real Estate Holdings and Southern Management and Development. It is anchored by Walmart and Publix.

In September, CRC acquired Centre at Hagerstown, a 331,833-square-foot power shopping center just off Interstate 81 in Hagerstown, Md., from Washington REIT. The center’s tenants include Marshall’s, Office Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond and PetSmart. In May, CRC made two purchases for a total of $26 million–an 87,250-square-foot shopping center in Spring Hill, Fla., anchored by Planet Fitness, and a 129,242-square-foot retail asset in Glen Burnie, Md., anchored by Gavigan’s Furniture.