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Real Estate - Commercial

Hanover Center Sold In More Than $51M Deal

By Cece Nunn, posted Dec 20, 2019
A Harris Teeter grocery store anchors Hanover Center, which was built on Oleander Drive in 1956. (Photo courtesy of Harbour Retail Partners)

Hanover Center, one of the oldest suburban shopping centers in Wilmington, changed hands Thursday in a more than $51 million deal.

Preferred Apartment Communities Inc. (NYSE: APTS) announced Thursday that it made an approximate 92.5% equity investment in a joint venture with Harbour Retail Partners to acquire the center.

Anchored by a Harris Teeter grocery store, the midtown Wilmington landmark at 3501 Oleander Drive measures more than 300,000-square-feet and has been owned for more than 60 years by the MacRae family, developed by Hugh MacRae II and opened in 1956. 

As a result of the new ownership, changes are in store at the center.

Randy Kelley, principal of Harbour Retail Partners who is based in Wilmington, said Thursday, “We are working on site plan approval” to add 264 apartments, along with office and retail space, to 7 acres behind the center.

The new owners are also looking at parking lot improvements and remodeling the facade, he said.

“Hanover Center will always be one of the best centers in Wilmington with a strong tenant mix, loyal customer base and wonderful history,” Kelley said in the release. “The center dates back to 1956 and is considered the first shopping center in Wilmington. We are excited about the opportunity to expand upon the foundation that the MacRae family built.”

Other tenants at the center include Hobby Lobby, Books-A-Million, Office Depot, K&W Cafeteria, Kingoff's Jewelers, Omega Sports, O2 Fitness, Temptations, Pier 1 Imports, J. Michael's Philly Deli and more.

Additional tenants could be on the way, Kelley said.

"We would love to integrate more restaurants into the shopping center," he said. "Currently we don't have any space. We're going to have to create that space over time.

"It'll be fun for us but also challenging to create really good restaurant space with outdoor seating and good architecture that has kind of a sense of place to it."

Preferred Apartment Communities, based in Atlanta, made the investment in Hanover Center through its wholly-owned indirect subsidiary New Market Properties LLC, a news release stated. 

Michael Aide, senior vice president and director of investments of New Market, said the investment in the center marks the firm’s continued expansion in North Carolina and its fourth asset in the state. 

“We now own 52 grocery-anchored centers consistent with our strategy to acquire well-positioned grocery-anchored centers in suburban Sunbelt and Mid-Atlantic markets with strong demographics that are anchored by market-leading grocers," Aide stated in the release.

According to the release, the high-barrier-to-entry location of Hanover Center has strong demographics and is strategically positioned at the epicenter of the dominant Oleander Drive retail corridor, which has traffic counts of over 48,000 vehicles per day.

The joint venture financed the acquisition of the center using a first mortgage loan from First Citizens Bank & Trust Company.

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