Brixmor buys West U Marketplace, a retail center anchored in Whole Foods near Bellaire and West U Place in Houston for $33.5 million

A bustling retail complex anchored in Whole-Foods has traded hands near West University Place and Bellaire as Houston’s commercial real estate market continues to attract out-of-state investors.

New York-based real estate investment firm Brixmor has purchased West U Marketplace, a 60,000-square-foot outdoor plaza located at 4004-4060 Bellaire Blvd, about 8 miles west of downtown Houston .

Brixmor paid $33.5 million for the resort, according to a May 2 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal closed on April 19, according to JLL, which represented the seller, Camden Securities Company, in the deal.

The trophy property is in the dense and affluent neighborhoods of Bellaire and West University, opposite one of Brixmor’s existing shopping centres, Braes Heights.

“Brixmor has been interested in West U Marketplace for several years. The ownership aligns with our cluster strategy to own grocery-anchored malls that create critical mass and densify our portfolio in attractive submarkets,” a Brixmor spokeswoman said in an email.

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Brixmor describes itself as one of the largest outdoor mall owners in the Houston area with a total of 29 malls totaling 3.8 million square feet in the metro, the spokeswoman said. Nationally, Brixmor has 67 million square feet in its portfolio.

“West U Marketplace is anchored by a highly productive Whole Foods market and has below-market in-place rents and significant remarketing opportunities,” the company added in its filing with the SEC. Below-market rents mean the new landlord would potentially have more leeway to raise rents for tenants in the place in the future, although Brixmor has not announced any details of its future plans.

Camden Securities has owned the site since 2003, when it purchased the complex from Bellaire Shopping Center Associates, a subsidiary that appears to be related to Fidelis Realty Partners, according to Harris County deed records.

The West U is Marketplace is fully leased with a 45,900 square foot Whole Foods store, as well as locations for Yoshi Sushi, Natural Pawz, Island Grill, French Cuff Boutique, River Oaks Nail & Spa and a Chase bank branch. Located on the highly visible northwest corner of Weslayan and Bellaire Boulevard, about 44,080 vehicles a day pass through the mall, according to JLL, which helped negotiate the deal. More than 195,500 residents earning an average annual household income of $156,574 live within a three-mile radius, according to JLL, citing US census data.

The Brixmor purchase comes as Houston, along with other Texas metros, continues to lead the nation in retail space rental activity thanks to pent-up demand during the pandemic. Over the past 12 months, Houston’s commercial space market has seen 6.3 million square feet of net absorption, the difference between tenant moves and move-ins, according to the commercial real estate data firm. CoStar. This means Houston was one of the best performing markets for retail space demand behind Dallas-Fort Worth. Retailers fill leases amid tight inventory and a growing population in Houston. Out-of-state buyers are among the investors flocking to Houston’s commercial space sector, which had a record year for commercial property sales transaction volume in 2021, according to CoStar.

“Retail trading in Texas markets is extremely strong,” said Ryan West, senior managing director of JLL. West is helping arrange the deal with general manager Chris Gerard and analyst Katherine Miller. “Iconic assets – like this center anchored at Whole Foods in the heart of West University – rarely change ownership, but Houston’s growing economy, and therefore retail fundamentals, continue to drive growth. important transactions like this.”

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