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Shopping center owner decides to sell building

Staff report
SALISBURY ó The owner of Salisbury Marketplace on Statesville Boulevard is selling the strip mall, along with 35 other shopping centers it owns in the Southeast, to a real estate investment trust, a press release said.
Florida-based Equity One Inc. currently owns the 79,732-square-foot shopping center anchored by Food Lion. It sits in the 2000 block of Statesville Boulevard, across from the Salisbury Mall.
The press release said Equity One has agreed to sell to Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII shopping centers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee for $473.1 million.
The statement does not say how much Blackstone Real Estate Partners, a part of New York-based private equity investment firm Blackstone Group LP, is paying for each center.
Equity One said it intends to use the proceeds from the sale to retire debt ó including $177.4 million owed on the properties involved in the sale ó fund its redevelopment pipeline, for future acquisitions and other corporate purposes. CEO Jeff Olsen said in the press release it will also allow the company to concentrate more on several urban retail markets.
Equity One said the 3.9 million square feet of space sold to Blackstone was 91 percent occupied as of June 30. Along with Food Lion, Salisbury Marketplace includes a Family Dollar, a couple of restaurants and other businesses, as well as some vacant space.
Most the shopping centers included in the sale are anchored by grocery stores. Bloomburg Business reported that retail centers with supermarkets are attracting investors because of the perceived safety of properties that consumers have to visit for necessities even in a slow-growing economy.
Other North Carolina properties included in the sale are in Charlotte, Durham and Winston-Salem.
The transaction is scheduled to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

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