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Regency Centers buys Uptown District

The Uptown District shopping center in Hillcrest has been sold for $81.1 million to a unit of Regency Centers Corp., as part of a four-asset, $188.5 million transaction.

The 148,638-square-foot shopping center, at 940-1092 University Ave., is reportedly about 95 percent leased.

A Cushman & Wakefield flyer identified six vacant spaces ranging from 878 to 2,010 square feet.

The center, anchored by a Ralphs and a Trader Joe’s, also includes Panera Bread, Wells Fargo Bank, Starbucks and AT&T among many other tenants.

Built by the OliverMcMillan development firm in 1989, the center was constructed on the site of a former Sears store.

It is bracketed by the 310-unit Uptown District Condominiums that were constructed in conjunction with the shopping center.

“The 148,638-square-foot urban center is the dominant grocery shopping destination in San Diego’s densely populated Hillcrest neighborhood,” Regency Centers (NYSE: REG) wrote.

The seller was West Coast Uptown Partners, with Michigan-based investor Basim Binno as its president. Alvin Mansour, of Marcus & Millichap's Mansour group, represented the seller.

Binno is also president of The Bosc Group, a financial services firm and subsidiary of BOK Financial Corp. (Nasdaq: BOKF), and has leadership positions at many other companies as well.

Both Kyle Clark — a Cushman & Wakefield director who has been handling the leasing on behalf of the seller — and Bill Thaxton, a Flocke & Avoyer senior vice president, say Uptown District is in a superb location with excellent tenants.

“It’s the only major shopping center in the area and the Ralphs, the Trader Joe’s and the Starbucks are tremendous draw," Clark said. "The quality of the tenants are the best since the center was built.”

Thaxton said the center is unique both for its location and tenant mix.

“There are very few centers that are so well-located and so well-leased,” Thaxton said.

Thaxton, who cited the housing around the center as being a tremendous plus, said while there had been some turnovers in the second-story retail spaces, the center's overall strength has filled these spaces.

“It’s just so well anchored it has made all the difference,” Thaxton said.

The other properties in the deal included the 115,794-square-foot Sandy Springs Plaza Center in an Atlanta suburb; the 78,128-square-foot Village Plaza Shopping Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.; and a half interest in Phillip’s Place, a 133,059-square-foot center in Charlotte, N.C.

With the Uptown District acquisition, the Regency Centers REIT continues to grow its influence in San Diego County.

Now with 11 centers here, the company boasts approximately 1.9 million square feet of space in San Diego County.

For the full year 2012, the REIT acquired $334.3 million worth of shopping centers -- its share was $242.8 million -- and sold $581.2 million of non-strategic assets; the share was $404.9 million.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2012, Regency posted $57.9 million in net income on $371.35 million in revenues — compared with $41.6 million in net income on $371.35 million in revenues for the like period a year earlier.

Regency Centers’ stock price ended at $47.72 — off four cents or 0.08 percent Friday. The stock has ranged from $36.30 to $51.38 during the past 52 weeks.

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