Weingarten Acquires 350 KSF Shopping Center in Austin
- Oct 10, 2013
Weingarten Realty Investors, of Houston, has acquired Mueller Regional Retail Center, a 350,000-square-foot power center adjacent to I-35 in Austin, Weingarten announced Tuesday.
The center, which is anchored by Home Depot, Marshalls, Bed Bath & Beyond and PetSmart, is part of the Mueller Regional Retail District, a 711-acre planned unit development.
“Austin is a robust market where we expect to continue to see strong growth in employment, population and rents over the next five years,” Drew Alexander, Weingarten’s president & CEO, said in a release.
The center is currently 98 percent leased, Weingarten chief operating officer Johnny Hendrix told Commercial Property Executive.
The release noted that Weingarten has made “great progress” in its disposition program, having sold during the third quarter eight non-core properties and two land parcels totaling $116 million.
The company is simply carrying out the same strategy it has for several years now, to increase the overall quality of its portfolio and to sell smaller, more rural properties in the Midwest and Texas, Hendrix told CPE.
By concentrating its assets in 16 markets larger nationwide, he said, Weingarten will maximize the efficiency of its management and leasing platforms.
Under its current guidance, Hendrix said, the company is looking to dispose of $250 million to $300 million worth of properties this year, while acquiring $150 million to $250 million.
The 711-acre master-planned retail district, also known as the Mueller Community, is being redeveloped by Catellus Development Group on the site of Austin’s former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport. The airport was replaced by Austin Bergstrom International Airport (itself the former Bergstrom Air Force Base) and was later closed in 1999.
The new Mueller Community broke ground in 2007 and is expected to take at least 10 years to complete. According to the developer, at completion the project will be worth $1.3 billion, with 4.2 million square feet of non-residential development, 650,000 square feet of retail, 4,600 homes and 140 acres of parks and open spaces.