Wheeler Real Estate Acquires 14 Grocery-Anchored Retail Centers for $71M

The 14 grocery-anchored assets, consisting of 603,142 leasable square feet, add to Wheeler's growing retail portfolio.
The Shoppes at Litchfield Market Village anchored by Bi-Lo

The Shoppes at Litchfield Market Village, anchored by Bi-Lo

Virginia Beach, Va.Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust Inc. recently acquired a portfolio of fourteen retail properties spread across South Carolina and Georgia. The portfolio consists of 603,142 gross leasable square feet, and has a combined occupancy rate of 92 percent, with anchor tenants such as Harris Teeter, Bi-Lo and Piggy-Wiggly, among others.

At the beginning of April, Wheeler Real Estate increased its $45 million revolving credit line with KeyBank National Association to approximately $67.2 million, of which $60.35 million was used to fund the purchase of the fourteen assets. The company also secured an $8 million term loan with Revere High Yield Fund LP with a current interest rate of 8 percent.

The total acquisition value of the properties was approximately $71.0 million, or $117.72 per leasable square foot, which Wheeler financed using a combination of cash, the increased revolving credit line with KeyBank, the Revere term loan and 888,889 partnership units of the company’s operating partnership, valued at $2.25 per unit.

“We are excited to complete this transaction in a geographic region that we know very well. The fourteen properties are in line with our acquisition criteria and are located in growing secondary and tertiary markets. The majority of the portfolio is located in South Carolina and will benefit from the close proximity of our regional office in Charleston. We are confident these assets will generate solid net operating income for the company and be immediately accretive to earnings,” said Jon Wheeler, chairman & CEO of Wheeler, in a prepared release.

“Increasing our AFFO, while maintaining a solid balance sheet remains in the forefront for the company. We strategically acquired these assets leveraging the use of our ongoing, long-term relationship with KeyBank as well as through the utilization of partnership units of our operating partnership, pricing each unit at a premium to the current market value of our common stock. Wheeler remains a growth oriented company, and these 14 grocery-anchored properties will bring us that much closer towards dividend coverage in the second half of 2016,” added Wheeler.

These acquisitions increase Wheeler’s total gross leasable footprint to approximately 3.8 million square feet within 56 retail properties. The company also owns 81 acres of development property, including nine undeveloped land parcels and one redevelopment property.

Wheeler Real Estate Investment Trust Inc. is a fully-integrated, self-managed commercial real estate investment company focused on acquiring and managing income-producing retail properties with a primary focus on grocery-anchored centers. Wheeler’s portfolio contains well-located, potentially dominant retail properties in secondary and tertiary markets that generate attractive risk-adjusted returns, with a particular emphasis on grocery-anchored retail centers.