Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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PERCENTAGE RENTS 210 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 high chance for data entry error. As we observed with many landlords, we decid- ed we could fix this process by making it simpler and smarter. SCB: So simply, reporting of sales for percentage rents is probably not very se- cure. It's definitely got a large margin of error with all of those stores reporting, and then you have the chance for error further in the inputting of the data. Lamy: That's right. And what we've seen in the last six to eight years, is that com- panies on both sides — retailers and land- lords — have right-sized their organiza- tions and had to reduce staff. We've seen a higher frequency of data entry error. We have always hoped that one day this process would get better because technol- ogy could make party A report to party B, and the precision would be there. Part of the good news, for us, is that it never got fixed, so we decided to create it. During the recession, we listened to retailers and landlords with their smaller staffs as the pain reach its highest point. I decided that my clients needed something to satisfy this problem that would be an easy option for the retailers. Everyone was frustrated, and I thought, no one else has done this, I'm the guy that truly understands this and therefore I'm going to do it, and I did. SCB: How have you developed Exeter Retail DataHub, and how are you getting retailers and shopping center owners on board? Lamy: Up to this point, we've been meet- ing with both parties. As I have traveled over the last several years, I've interacted with many of the major regional and na- tional retailers, and we've also interacted with them on an executive level survey ask- ing, 'would you be interested in a product if something came along that would make sales reporting to all of your landlords easier, more efficient and cost effective?' V irginia Beach, Virginia-based Wheeler REIT has acquired a 14-property, grocery-anchored retail portfolio located in South Carolina and Georgia for $71 million. The portfolio, which totals more than 600,000 square feet, is comprised of three freestanding grocery stores and 11 gro- cery-anchored shopping centers. Wheeler acquired the 92 percent occupied portfolio — which consists of 13 properties in South Carolina and one property in Georgia — from Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company, Inc. The centers are home to a mix of grocers, from Harris Teeter in Folly Beach near Charleston, to Piggly Wiggly and Bi-Lo. "The centers are all located in secondary and tertiary markets, and contain necessity-based retail," says Jon Wheeler, CEO of Wheeler REIT. "Each of the properties — excluding the three freestanding grocery stores — is within 50,000 to 100,000 square feet. Some of the properties are more resort oriented — we have one in Bluffton near Hilton Head Island that has more of a coastal, cottage architecture. Overall, we think it is a handsome portfolio." The company's Charleston office will manage the centers. "It fits like a glove with our Charleston office," says Wheel- er. "We have our scalable management team there to help us with the additional 14 properties. When we went about choosing our Charleston office, we tried to find an area that was within a two-hour drive of the majority of our Southeast portfolio. Even prior to this acquisition, that was true. Our efficiencies are now even greater with this strategic acquisition — we won't have to bring on any more staff for leasing and property management." This acquisition brings the REIT to 32 retail properties in South Carolina, and 66 properties as a whole, including nine land parcels and one redevelopment property. "We see this as a fantastic time and opportunity for what we're doing in our markets based upon product availability and interest rates," says Wheeler. "We're not stopping — we're a growth company. We hope to have the opportunity to buy many more assets this year." — Katie Sloan Wheeler REIT Acquires 14 Property Retail Portfolio for $71 Million Shoppes at Myrtle Park is a Bi-Lo-anchored center in Bluffton, South Carolina. Folly Road Shopping Center is in the Charleston, South Carolina, metro area.

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