Saul Centers Picks up Trio of East Coast Retail Properties for $60M

Saul Centers, a REIT based in Bethesda, Md., has closed on the purchase of three shopping centers, two in the Washington, D.C., suburbs and one in a coastal Delaware vacation community, for a total of $60.6 million.  The sellers, according to a prepared release, were “seller entities under common control.”  The three centers are:* Great Falls Center, Great Falls, Va., 89,000 square feet, built in 1979 and renovated in 2000, anchored by a Safeway grocery store and a CVS pharmacy, 95 percent leased.* A 115,000-square-foot single-tenant property in Alexandria, Va., completed in 1991 and occupied by BJ’s Wholesale Club under a long-term ground lease.* The Marketplace at Sea Colony, in Bethany Beach, Del., 22,000 square feet, 100 percent leased by restaurants and retailers serving both permanent residents and visitors.  The purchase included the assumption of a $10,350,000, 5.8 percent mortgage loan maturing February 2024, secured by Great Falls Center and supplemented by a $6,525,000 increase with interest-only payments for the first year, then principal and interest payments based on a 6.8 percent rate and 30-year amortization. Saul Centers also took out a $12,750,000, 15-year mortgage loan, secured by the BJ’s Wholesale Club, requiring monthly principal and interest payments based on a 6.43 percent interest rate and 30-year amortization. The remaining $30,975,000 of the purchase price was funded using net proceeds from the company’s recent Series B preferred stock offering. Chris Larcher, director of Integra Realty Resources’ Washington, D.C., office commented to CPN that in most metro areas, “There’s still a lot of demand for shopping centers,” with grocery-anchored community centers still considered desirable. Although prices are a little off since last August and activity is down, he said that prices have not been affected in a major way and transaction activity is expected to pick up over the summer, as cash players such as institutional investors continue to seek deals.  A self-managed, self-administered REIT, Saul Centers operates and manages a portfolio of 46 community and neighborhood shopping centers totaling approximately 7 million square feet and five office properties totaling approximately 1.2 million square feet. Properties in the Washington-Baltimore metro area comprise 70 percent of the company’s portfolio and generate more than 80 percent of its cash flow.