REAL ESTATE

Northwestern and Phillips Edison join forces on a REIT

BY Al Urbanski

Northwestern Mutual, a large investor in commercial real estate, announced it will acquire an 85% interest in Grocery Retail Partners, a real estate investment trust managed by Phillips Edison & Company.

The REIT’s portfolio of 17 grocery-anchored centers across eight states is valued at $368 million, according to PECO, which will retain ownership of 15% of the company.

PECO, which owns and operates some 300 grocery-anchored centers, intends to use the proceeds of the sale to strengthen its balance sheet, fund redevelopment projects, and further expand its portfolio.

“Entering into this joint venture with Northwestern Mutual is a compelling illustration of the continued strength in grocery-anchored real estate,” commented CEO Jeff Edison in a press release.

In addition, Phillips Edison Grocery Center REIT III, which is currently sponsored and managed by PECO, has entered into a separate joint venture with Northwestern Mutual to create Grocery Retail Partners II. Northwestern Mutual will acquire a 90% interest, valued at approximately $46.5 million, in three grocery-anchored shopping centers currently owned by PECO III.

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REAL ESTATE

Exton Square Mall to add residential units

BY Al Urbanski

A 300-unit luxury apartment building will soon begin rising at PREIT’s Exton Square Mall in Chester County, Pa.

The developer, Hanover Company, completed its $10.3 million purchase of a 4-acre parcel on the grounds of the mall, located about 15 miles west of King of Prussia on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The deal marks PREIT’s first re-make of one of its malls as a true mixed-use property.

“We are pleased to have completed this transaction as part of our densification program, which serves to improve the value of our assets and our liquidity position to strengthen our balance sheet,” said PREIT CEO Joseph F. Coradino in a press release.

PREIT kicked off its densification initiative in May, announcing opportunities for developers to partner with the company on 5,000 to 7,000 residential units and 1,500 to 3,000 hotel rooms at properties in the Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., markets.

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Luxury resale retailer expands physical footprint

BY Marianne Wilson

Resale is hot these days and Rebag is capitalizing on it — online and off.

The digitally-native company which trades in luxury handbags for resale has opened two locations in Los Angeles, one in the Melrose neighborhood and the other in Beverly Hills. Rebag made its physical debut this year, with a flagship in Manhattan’s SoHo, followed by an outpost on Madison Avenue.

Both Los Angeles stores feature the retailer’s signature “Rebag bar,” where customers who want to sell their bags can have them instantly authenticated and valued, along with hundreds of high-end designer handbags for sale. And both offer the same flexibility, and personalized services as in the brand’s NYC boutiques, the company said.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen considerable online adoption from customers on the West Coast and specifically in the LA area,” says Charles Gorra, founder and CEO of Rebag. “The time was right to expand our physical retail presence here, and while opening two stores at the same time is a bold move, the market has shown us that there is a strong appetite for Rebag. Each neighborhood with its unique clientele will allow us to reach even more customers with our transparent, instantaneous retail process through an elevated, in-store shopping experience.”

In line with the openings, Rebag also launched a new initiative called Rebag Infinity. It provides 70% store credit for every previously-purchased bag exchanged for a new Rebag handbag within six months.

Online, Rebag allows customers to sell their luxury handbags and shop through Rebag’s mobile app and its web site. Rebag promises payment for bags accepted within one to two business days for online and mobile transactions and in less than 60 minutes in stores.

“Rebag has always been about providing seamless access to luxury handbags and that means servicing our customers across the country,” says Gorra. “The decision to open our next physical retail locations in Los Angeles was a natural next step in furthering this mission.”

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