America’s Realty Acquires Massive Cleveland Shopping Center

October 10, 2013
BY Marc Shapiro

A Pikesville-based commercial redevelopment company acquired an 800,000-square-foot shopping center in Maple Heights, Ohio, making it the largest project in the company’s portfolio.

America’s Realty bought the shopping center, its 220th, for $14 million, or $17.50 per square acre.

“There’s a void of a lot of services, and we want to cater to the area,” said Carl Verstandig, the company’s president and CEO, who was profiled in the July 26 issue of the Jewish Times (“Verstandig Picks Up The Pieces”).

The center, which is about 33 percent vacant, is anchored by a Home Depot and a Giant Eagle supermarket. Verstandig said his company plans to invest $3.5 million in improvements to the center in the first year.

“This a regional center that services about 200,000 people within about
15 miles of the Cleveland area,” he said.

He sees a lack of clothing stores at the center, which he plans to bring in, and since the center is near about 20,000 apartments, he also plans to bring in a laundromat and dry cleaner. To further cater to the area, he is looking into getting a specialty food shop such as a Hispanic grocer.

Verstandig plans to pass the savings —  he bought the center for less than half of the original price of $38 million — on to his tenants, offering rent of $5 to $7 per square foot.

Verstandig had been trying to buy the center from its lender for about a year and a half, with the lender tying up proceedings in court to try to avoid taking a loss on the property. Since acquiring the center, potential tenants who weren’t able to open in the center during the proceedings have contacted America’s Realty.

“It seems like there’s a demand for space, just no one has been allowed in there,” Verstandig said.

Since this acquisition, America’s Realty has contracted to buy its fifth
regional center in North Carolina, its 16th in Ohio and its third in Georgia.

Verstandig and his company are also in the process of redeveloping the Fields of Pikesville building, and he is currently in negotiations with a New York-based kosher grocer. He plans to reveal the name of the grocer when a contract is signed. The JT will have the exclusive on that.

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