Federal Realty Expands into South Florida, Acquires Shopping Center

Working toward expanding its presence in South Florida, Rockville, Md.-based Federal Realty Investment Trust has acquired Courtyard Shops, a 127,000-square-foot Publix-anchored neighborhood shopping center located in Palm Beach County, from an unnamed institutional owner for $37.9 million. In the upscale area of Wellington, Fla., the shopping center’s location in an affluent trade area made it an attractive investment while also meeting Federal Realty’s goal of expanding into South Florida, according to information from Federal Realty. Courtyard Shops (pictured) was built in 1990 and expanded in 1998 and is anchored by a 49,000-square-foot Publix supermarket. Publix, the largest and fastest-growing employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States, is the dominant grocer in South Florida. The average household income within a three-mile radius of the Courtyard Shops is more than $115,000. In addition, the property benefits from significant barriers to new competition due to considerable portions of Wellington being protected as an equestrian preserve established to keep the community’s character intact as Wellington is world-famous for its equestrian events and polo clubs. For the last two decades, Palm Beach County has experienced rapid economic growth with the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton Area ranking fourth on the Milken Institute’s 2004 Best Performing Cities Index. The index ranks U.S. metros based on their ability to create and sustain jobs.Fitch Ratings described Palm Beach County as one of the nation’s wealthiest counties with per capita personal income levels nearly 50 percent higher than state and national averages. Fitch attributed much that to Palm Beach County’s vibrant and diversifying economic base, sound financial position and moderate debt levels. As for the economic base, Fitch noted luxury tourism, technology manufacturing and agriculture. Founded in 1962, Federal Realty Investment Trust is an equity real estate investment trust specializing in the ownership, management, development and redevelopment of retail assets. Federal Realty’s portfolio (excluding joint venture properties) contains approximately 18.5 million square feet located primarily in metropolitan markets in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and California.