Branch Properties Sells Walmart-Anchored Shopping Center in Hampton Roads Region

Walmart and Marshalls anchor Mercury Plaza, which is situated at the intersection of West Mercury Boulevard and Power Plant Parkway in Hampton, Virginia, 21 miles north of downtown Norfolk.

Hampton, Va. — Branch Properties has sold Mercury Plaza, a 98,066-square-foot shopping center in Hampton. Walmart Neighborhood Market and Marshalls anchor the center, which is situated at the intersection of West Mercury Boulevard and Power Plant Parkway, 21 miles north of downtown Norfolk in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region. Branch acquired the property in 2018 for $25 million and invested $2.6 million to build a new building on the site. The Atlanta-based seller also sold four outparcels in 2019 for $9.7 million. Fain Hicks, Margaret Jones, John Owendoff and Lane Breedlove of Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller in the transaction. The buyer and sales price were not disclosed.

South Huntsville growing with new Publix-anchored center

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle
Huntsville, Ala., Mayor Tommy Battle stands in front of a soon-to-be demolished strip shopping center on south Memorial Parkway making way for a new commercial development.

By Lee Roop | lroop@al.com

Huntsville leaders today celebrated a $24 million investment in a new south Memorial Parkway shopping center anchored by a Publix grocery. Mayor Tommy Battle called the area “another growth corridor … south south Huntsville.’

Publix will open in the new complex called “The Market at Hays Farm” in the fall of 2021, developers said. Demolition of the Haysland Square strip center will begin next week, lead developer Richard Lee said.

The center will ultimately house 150,000 square feet of shops, restaurants and “service tenants” in “roughly five separate buildings,” Lee said. The Staples store now on the property will remain.

The new development will help fuel what landowner and developer John Hays called a “renaissance” in the area. Hays and his family own the land they are developing into Hays Farm, a residential area of up to 1,000 new homes located behind the shopping center and next to growing Redstone Arsenal.

That development including a 9-acre city park, 6-acre lake and an entertainment area is expected to enter an already growing real estate market in the city. Fueling that growth is a large FBI center moving to the arsenal, a joint Toyota and Mazda automobile factory and growing aerospace, defense and technology segments of the economy.

“This is a dream a long time coming,” Hays said today. “We’ve met and talked with (homeowners’ associations) as far back as 15 years ago with this idea of what might happen here. The dream is now a reality, and I think you’ll see home prices reflect that as of 10 o’clock this morning (the time of the announcement).”

Battle said the new development will bring new homes, retail and office space together “in an urban development that makes people want to come together as a community.”

“This is going to be one of the best things to happen to (the area) in a long time,” area City Councilwoman Jennie Robinson said. “The ripples will go up and down the Parkway.”

The developer of the center, Branch Properties, is based in Atlanta. It has developed 45 Publix-anchored shopping centers around the Southeast, Lee said. Collaborating on the project is Florida-based Tailwinds Development, which has built more than 15 Publix-anchored centers.

Publix-anchored shopping center planned for Tucker

Officials from Branch Properties, Publix and city of Tucker broke ground Nov. 5 at the location of the future Hugh Howell Marketplace.

Officials from Branch Properties—an Atlanta-based private real estate investment firm focused on grocery store anchored shopping centers—said Hugh Howell Marketplace is slated for completion in late summer 2021 and will span 89,510 square feet on the corner of Hugh Howell Road and Mountain Industrial Boulevard at 4650 Hugh Howell Road in Tucker.

Officials from Branch Properties and Tucker said the shopping center will address the needs of residents of Tucker and the Smoke Rise neighborhood.

“This has been a long time coming,” said councilmember Pat Soltys. “We have now put another jewel in the ground for Tucker that ensures not only our economic stability and meets the needs of our consumers in the area, but also … helps people with job opportunities and helps people see other ways to meet their needs.”

The shopping center will be anchored by a 48,387-square-foot Publix supermarket, which is relocating from 4422 Hugh Howell Road. Branch Properties officials said the development will include space for a variety of retail and service offerings, and that Chase Bank has signed on to occupy space in the center. 

Branch Properties President Nick Telesca thanked Tucker officials for helping with the permitting process, and he said construction will begin Nov. 6.

“Hugh Howell Marketplace will bring an elevated and convenient shopping experience to the Tucker community, with opportunities to shop, dine and more, all within one development,” said Telesca. “We are grateful to the city of Tucker officials, our development partners and our partners at Publix who have made and continue to make this project a smooth process.”

Mayor Frank Auman acknowledged staff from Tucker and Branch Properties for continuing to work on the project throughout the pandemic.

He said, “$25 million in the middle of a pandemic and we’re about to go break ground because the future is coming. I’m grateful for our city council and city staff who also worked through [the pandemic].”

Branch Properties continues optimism in face of pandemic

ATLANTA, May 14, 2020 – As economic forecasters look for glimmers of hope in an economy rocked by the Covid-19 pandemic, a local real estate developer is banking on the stability of a market segment that has successfully adapted to new realities: grocery stores.

Atlanta-based Branch Properties recently acquired land to build a shopping center in Tucker and closed a loan to build another in Dunwoody. The common denominator is both centers will be anchored by Publix supermarkets.

 “Our business model has long been based on developing and revitalizing shopping centers anchored by grocery stores,” said Jesse Shannon, chief investment officer of Branch Properties. “Grocery-anchored retail has lagged behind the multi-family and industrial asset classes in terms of rent growth and exit capitalization rates for the last 10 years but has a proven history of providing strong risk-adjusted returns in times of economic disruption. The pandemic has provided an exaggerated case study on grocery performance during economic shocks. After all, food is essential to life.”

Branch Properties is moving forward with its business strategies based on the belief that grocery stores could serve as a bellwether of economic recovery within the real estate market.

When consumer confidence is waning and capital for new real estate development is potentially more difficult to secure, one thing remains constant: consumers buy groceries. Coupled with historically low interest rates, supermarkets and shopping centers anchored by grocery stores continue to be good investments for companies like Branch Properties.

“The retail acquisition market may be somewhat stabilized in future months by the strength of supermarket sales,” Shannon said. “While other types of retail stores have been temporarily shuttered, grocery sales remain strong. Supermarket tenants continue to pay rent, which helps keep these centers afloat while we wait for the rest of the retail sector to reopen.”

Perimeter Marketplace, Dunwoody, Ga.

Branch Properties has secured capital to begin development of Perimeter Marketplace, near the Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody. The developer owns 10 acres of land at the northwest intersection of Ashford Dunwoody and Meadow Lane roads. The intersection is well-traveled with 52,000 vehicle trips per day, and more than 110,000 residents live within three miles of the intersection.

A 25,147-square-foot Publix will anchor the new center, which will be comprised of multiple retail tenants occupying an additional 39,150 square feet. Publix and several other future tenants have already signed leases.

Hugh Howell Village, Tucker, Ga.

Branch Properties recently purchased 14 acres in Tucker to develop Hugh Howell Village. The developer plans to build a neighborhood shopping center anchored by a 48,000-square-foot Publix, which will relocate from a nearby shopping center about a quarter of a mile away.

Hugh Howell Village will sit on the northeast corner of Hugh Howell Road and Mountain Industrial Blvd. In addition to the new Publix, Branch Properties plans to develop about 35,000 square feet of retail shops in three new buildings and two new outparcel buildings.

The site is attractive due to its proximity to I-285, which is less than 4 miles away, and being on a high-trafficked corner with over 60,000 vehicle trips per day and strong demographics within a 3-mile trade area.

Westridge Square ownership changes hands

       The $38.38 million asset transfer, which closed Monday, comes on the heels of a four-year effort by Branch Properties to overhaul the center, attract a new mix of tenants, and bring Westridge Square to fully leased status.

       The multi-million-dollar renovation and reconfiguration of the 182,000-square-foot shopping center was highlighted by the addition of Sprouts Farmers Market, a supermarket chain headquartered in Phoenix. The upscale grocer moved into the 30,524-square-foot space previously occupied by Harris Teeter.

        Reconfiguring Westridge Square also involved downsizing the Kohl’s department store—one of the first Kohl’s in the U.S. to transition to a smaller footprint—to make room for Planet Fitness.

      “Westridge Square was a smart investment for Branch Properties because it is great real estate in a strong Southeastern market,” said Brett Horowitz, vice president and asset manager. “We had tremendous success with the redevelopment of Battleground Village, and so we knew the corridor was ripe for renovation. We enjoy doing business in the Greensboro community and look forward to investing in the Triad again in the future,” Horowitz said.

     Westridge Square changes hands / 2 Located at Battleground Ave. and Westridge Road, the center also includes seven outparcel buildings, bringing the total square footage to approximately 215,000.

Berkley Capital Advisors represented Branch Properties in the transaction.

Cook Out, health clinic coming to revamped Triad shopping center

New businesses will continue to “Sprout” up at a Triad shopping center rejuvenated, at least in part, by the addition of a unique grocery store.

The arrival of Sprouts Farmers Market (NASDAQ: SFM), which opened at Westridge Square, has spurred activity at the shopping center at the corner of Battleground Avenue and Westridge Road in Greensboro. The location is Sprouts’ first in the Triad. In the past year, the Thai Square and Vitality Bowls restaurants have opened near Sprouts, facing Battleground. NAPA Auto Parts opened in a former Rite Aid store on the shopping center’s north wing, where Title Boxing Club, a fitness studio chain, moved late last summer. Planet Fitness opened on the south end.

Brett Horowitz, an asset manager and partner at Westridge Square owner Branch Properties, told Triad Business Journal that IORA Primary Care will open a 6,700-square-foot health care facility in September. Cook Out has signed to open a restaurant on the site of the former Mrs. Winner’s Chicken and Biscuits on an outparcel along Battleground. Horowitz told TBJ that he’s in negotiations for the only two remaining vacancies at the 215,000-square-foot shopping center, and hopes to have them filled in “the next 30 days.” Branch has made a “multi-million investment” in Westridge Square in the past few years, according to Horowitz, who said improvements were made to the interior as well as exterior. Founded in 1973 and based in Atlanta, Branch is a private real estate investment firm whose primary focus is high-quality, grocery-anchored shopping centers in the Southeast. Horowitz said Sprouts has other stores in Branch properties. IORA’s space was formerly part of a 50,000-square-foot Harris Teeter store that closed in 2017. Sprouts just over 30,000 square feet with a store size typical of the Phoenix-based chain’s footprint. Kohl’s is the largest store at Westridge Square with about 55,000 square feet. Planet Fitness has 32,000 square feet. “I think the center’s come a long way,” Horowitz told TBJ. “Sprouts has lifted up the entire property. We know the importance of having a grocery store.”

The area around Westridge Square is changing, too. On an outparcel at Battleground and Westridge, Village Tavern recently completed major renovations. Behind the shopping center on Whitehurst Road, Harmony at Greensboro senior community is under construction. The Battleground corridor has become a battleground for grocery stores, in particular specialty stores. Sprouts competitor Earth Fare recently completed a multi-million renovation of its store in Battleground Village. Construction is underway on Greensboro’s first Trader Joe’s at Battleground and New Garden Road.

Harris Teeter (NYSE: KR), Food Lion, Target (NYSE: TGT) and Walmart (NYSE: WMT) also have Battleground stores.

Branch Properties begins next phase of apartment complex

Real estate developer Branch Properties, LLC, and general contractor Summit Contracting Group, Inc., have begun the third phase of a mixed-use residential development on 50 acres in northwest metro Atlanta.

“West Village is a vibrant, master-planned community being developed to serve the burgeoning rental market in affluent Cobb County,” said Jack Haylett, Senior Vice President of Branch Properties. “We continue to remain active on the multifamily front in communities where there is strong demand for thoughtful development and quality construction.”

Phase III of West Village, located in Cobb County, Ga., a bedroom community northwest of Atlanta, will include 313 apartments and 470 parking spaces on nine acres. The apartments will range in size from 660-square-foot studios to 1,484-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath apartments. Branch Properties is the owner and developer, and Summit Contracting Group is the general contractor.

West Village has succeeded in large part due to Cobb County’s thriving economy and 10.8% population growth since 2010. Branch Properties assembled the 50-acre site in 2005, developing 292 Class A multifamily units and 68,000 square feet of retail in the first phase of construction.

Branch Properties completed the second phase of West Village in 2011, adding another 188 apartments, before selling to MidAmerica Apartment Communities in 2014. West Village received a “Development of Excellence” Award from the Atlanta Regional Commission in 2007.

Amenities will include a 3,000-square-foot public library, as well as a fitness center, dog park, pool and courtyard for residents. Construction is expected to be complete in early 2021 with the first group of apartment units coming on the market in Spring 2020.

Branch Properties Acquires Two Grocery-Anchored Shopping Centers for $57 Million

Roswell, Ga. and Leland, N.C. — Branch Properties has acquired two grocery-anchored shopping centers in the Southeast. The first, Roswell Market Place, is a 95,522-square-foot shopping center anchored by Sprouts Farmers Market. Branch Properties bought the asset for $32 million. The center, which is located at 10800 Alpharetta Highway, 24 miles north of downtown Atlanta, was built in 1986 and renovated two years ago. Roswell Market Place was 88 percent leased at the time of the sale.     

 The second property is Waterford Village, a 108,249-square-foot shopping center anchored by Harris Teeter that was purchased for $25 million. Waterford Village sits on 15.8 acres at 2013 Olde Waterford Way in Leland, North Carolina, nine miles west of downtown Wilmington. The asset was 90 percent leased at the time of the sale.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe one of four new restaurants opening in East Brainerd

New restaurants are flowing into the Waterside retail center in East Brainerd — at least four are to open by the first part of 2019 — and the owner of one of them cites a pair of key anchor stores.

“People love Publix. Same thing with REI Co-op,” said Paul Neumaier, co-owner of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe slated to open Thursday at 2380 Lifestyle Way.

Waterside, after a slow time gaining traction earlier this decade off Shallowford Road near Interstate 75, is about 90 percent leased up, according to developer Branch Properties of Atlanta.  Read full story

Branch Signs Three Tenants to Westridge Square Center in North Carolina

Greensboro, N.C. — Branch Properties LLC has signed three tenants to Westridge Square, a 215,000-square-foot shopping center in Greensboro.

The Atlanta-based real estate company originally acquired the center and its seven outparcel buildings in 2015, and is currently modernizing and re-tenanting the property. Planned renovations include raising the parapets and upgrading the building materials to include brick, metal and wood.

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