Continental Realty Corporation (CRC), a Baltimore-based real estate investment and management company, has acquired Mount Pleasant Towne Centre, a 510,000 square foot open-air regional shopping venue situated in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina for approximately $147 million. This latest purchase continues an aggressive strategy that has resulted in the acquisition of five shopping centers comprising nearly 1.2 million square feet of space, for a cumulative transactional volume of approximately $225 million, over the past 12 months. According to Real Capital Analytics, a commercial real estate database, CRC now ranks among the top 10 most active buyers of retail properties in total deal volume during the past year.
This acquisition represents the 6th retail property and 8th asset overall purchased by Continental Realty Fund, V, L.P. a $210.8 million private equity fund focused on retail and multifamily properties located throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. It is also the largest in the more than 60-year history of CRC in terms of purchase price and becomes the second retail asset owned by the company in South Carolina.
Anchored by national tenants Belk, Regal Cinemas, Bed Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble, Arhaus Furniture and Old Navy, the asset was 96.4% leased and occupied at the time of the purchase. The seller, a joint venture of Miller Capital Advisory and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), was represented by Stephen Livaditis, Eric Zimmermann, Michael Pagliari, and Conor Lalor of Eastdil Secured.
Positioned between North Highway 17 and Hungry Neck Boulevard, the regional openair shopping center features nearly 70 tenants comprised predominantly of national retailers including Peloton, Lululemon, Bluemercury, Athleta Ulta, Southern Tide, Francesca’s, Ann Taylor Loft and Bath & Body Works. The tenant mix is also comprised of best in market regional and local retailers and restaurants including Savi Cucina, Copper Penny, Palmetto Moon, Lizard Thicket, Reed’s Jewelers and Hustle Smoothie Bar.
“This represented an excellent opportunity to acquire an institutional-quality lifestyle center within a very high barrier-to-entry market that serves one of Coastal Carolina’s most affluent and fastest growing residential populations,” explained David Donato, Senior Vice President of Operations for Continental Realty Corporation. “Over the past two decades, the population the town of Mount Pleasant has doubled, and has historically grown at a rate faster than cities such as Atlanta, Austin, Denver, and Seattle.
“Mount Pleasant Towne Centre is the dominant open-air retail center in the Charleston market and sits on more than 51 acres with over half a mile of frontage along US Highway 17. It is highly unlikely a property similar in nature will ever be built again in this submarket. There has been strong leasing momentum with the recent additions of Lululemon, Peloton, Bluemercury, Athleta, and Arhaus, in addition to several more we are close to signing. You can see the very early beginnings of an improvement in the tenant mix which we plan to take to the next level. With the Hyatt Place hotel construction completed and the upcoming multi-million dollar Regal movie theater upgrade in the works, we see significant value-add on the horizon. We look forward to delivering a solid risk-adjusted return to our investors with the execution of our leasing and asset management strategy,” Donato added.
Demonstrated vibrancy and growth of Mt. Pleasant trade area
Contained within the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Mount Pleasant Towne Centre features more access points than any other center in the Mount Pleasant region, and is located on a strategic corridor connecting Mount Pleasant to Charleston with direct links to Interstate 526 serving the nearby towns of Daniel Island, North Charleston and West Ashley. Nearly 65,000 vehicles pass the center on a daily basis and more than 42,000 consumers, with an average household income approaching $125,000, reside within a three-mile radius of Mount Pleasant Towne Centre.
Recognized as the fourth-largest municipality in South Carolina, the median income for households in Mt. Pleasant is expected to increase by 12% over the next 12 years to more than $105,000, which is 60% higher than the Charleston MSA media. Presently, nearly 400,000 people reside within a 30-minute drive from Mount Pleasant Towne Centre with an average household income approaching $94,000. The trade area features the region’s strongest housing markets with average home values exceeding $420,000, which is 44% above the next-highest submarket. The residential population has expanded by 54% since 2000 and future growth is projected to significantly outpace the national average.
Mt. Pleasant is within close proximity to major employment centers Charleston and North Charleston with top employers including Joint Base Charleston (36,000 employees); Medical University of South Carolina (13,000 employees); The Boeing Company (8,200 employees) and the Berkeley County School District (approximately 7,000 employees). Nearly seven million tourists visit the area annually to support an industry that injects more than $7 billion into the local economy.
“Measured by any metric, Mount Pleasant Towne Centre is an irreplaceable real estate property that represents the ideal high-value asset we seek for our investors,” explained JM Schapiro, CEO of Continental Realty Corporation. “Based on our ownership of the nearby West Ashley Shoppes, our team is extremely familiar with the Charleston real estate marketplace and we have established deep relationships in the regional business and brokerage communities. In this instance we worked with The Beach Company, headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, who are also an investor in the acquisition of Mount Pleasant Towne Centre. CRC and The Beach Company have had a close working relationship for over a decade.
“We are excited to be working with CRC on this once in a lifetime acquisition. The Beach Company stands ready to offer our services to ensure that Mount Pleasant Towne Centre remains successful and a vibrant asset to the Mount Pleasant Community and Charleston Region,” explained John Darby, President and CEO of The Beach Company.
“We were attracted to fundamentals led by a robust housing and healthy labor market, an attractive climate and lifestyle that continues to attract people to the area, and a one-of-a-kind merchandising mix that achieves above-industry sales. We believe no other retail venue provides a similar scope of entertainment, restaurant and retail offerings in this marketplace,” Schapiro added.
“With more than 20 unique-to-market tenants, Mount Pleasant Towne Centre is the epitome of a destination-style shopping venue and it is fitting that an asset of this standing represents the largest and most significant acquisition in the six-decade history of our company. “Our team has demonstrated the ability to identify and secure exceptional properties throughout all market cycles for our investors, and we believe this adds another strong asset to our portfolio. We continue to scour the nation for new value-creation opportunities,” Schapiro concluded.
Continental Realty Corporation (CRC) is focused on acquiring value-add retail and multifamily properties located throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. Headquartered in Baltimore and founded in 1960, CRC is a full-service commercial real estate and investment company. The privately-owned firm owns and manages a diversified portfolio of retail centers consisting of more than 5 million square feet of commercial space, as well as almost 10,000 apartment homes. Positioned throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions, the portfolio’s value exceeds $2 billion. For additional information, visit www.crcrealty.com.
For additional information, contact: Larry Lichtenauer LH&A, Inc. 410-363-6205