American Realty Advisors acquires University Station for $206 million

September 02, 2016 - Front Section
the shops at University Station, a newly constructed, 400,000 s/f retail asset University Station, Westwood, MA

Westwood, MA American Realty Advisors, an institutional real estate investment manager with over $7.5 billion in assets under management, has acquired the shops at University Station, a newly constructed, 400,000 s/f retail asset located within a 130-acre mixed-use live/work/play development for $206 million.

“Our focus on acquiring assets in supply constrained markets which are transit oriented and unique is represented by our ability to acquire University Station as part of our core investment strategy,” said Martha Shelley, senior portfolio manager at American Realty Advisors. “This ability to acquire assets such as the Westwood location in the Boston market is very important to our approach to investing, as the limitations on growth and development in this market provide us with a margin of safety for our investment strategy,” said Shelley, “as well as providing strong upside potential based on its strategic location within a newly constructed premier mixed-use development, its national tenancy and proximity to major transit, and the attractive demographics of the surrounding trade area.”

As part of a 2.1 million s/f mixed-use development that includes retail, residential, office, and hospitality product, the retail portion of University Station is anchored by Wegmans, a supermarket chain and shadow anchored by Target and Lifetime Fitness. The asset also houses national tenants including Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls and PetSmart.

Robert Griffin, NGKF Robert Griffin, NGKF

University Station is located between 100 and 300 University Aves. New England Development will continue to serve as the management and leasing agent for the retail center.  The seller, Westwood Marketplace Holdings LLC, was represented by Robert Griffin Jr., who was with Cushman & Wakefield and is now with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.

“Our focus is on investing in fortress locations driven by geographic, economic, political or other supply constraints which makes it difficult to replicate other developments in the market; thus driving up long term value for our investors,” said Shelley. “The average term of in-place leases for the property is approximately 15 years, while 95% of the asset’s total income is generated from its national tenant base. We believe these characteristics will provide stabilized risk-adjusted returns for our investors over time.”

According to Scott Anderson, director in American’s Investment Group, the Boston metro area demonstrates strong fundamentals, and that University Station is very unique and services a substantial trade area that includes 13 towns, comprised of approximately 214,700 residents with an average annual household income in excess of $121,000. “These factors add to the appeal of the property, and indicate that the region is poised to perform well over time,” he said.  “Further, University Station is a transit-oriented destination that will draw consumers from across the region on a consistent basis.”

The property is 15 miles from downtown Boston, near I-95 and Rte. 128, which draw 140,000 vehicles per day, as well as the region’s sole Amtrak/MBTA commuter rail station, which transports 1.3 million travelers annually.

“Overall, this property represents a high quality addition to our existing portfolio.  With our active and hands-on management platform, American will continue to identify opportunities to drive value in this premier core asset,” Anderson said.

With over $7.5 billion in assets under management, American Realty Advisors is a leading provider of commercial real estate investment management services.  For over 27 years, American has managed capital for institutional investors utilizing core and value-added commingled funds and separate accounts. American acquires assets directly or provides equity, preferred equity, mezzanine debt, debt, and hybrid debt to primary investors and developers operating throughout the U.S. for office, industrial, multi-family, and retail properties.



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