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Eastern Union advises shopping center owner on hunt for assets

Marc Tropp, senior managing director of Eastern Union’s Bethesda, Md., office, is braced for a busy year with a national client seeking additional retail acquisition opportunities.

To date, Tropp has arranged financing in excess of $250 million — for purchases and refinancings — as exclusive mortgage advisor to America’s Realty LLC.

Tropp has structured loans for more than 30 purchases, including eight acquisitions this year totaling 1.4 million square feet.

Carl Verstandig, CEO of America’s Realty, expects to keep up the pace going into 2019.

“Carl has really distinguished himself as a maverick when it comes to underperforming retail centers,” said Tropp.

“During a time where some retail property owners are struggling, Carl has the innate ability to seek out turnaround opportunities, rehabilitate these properties and still offer tenants affordable rents.”

Verstandig started as a local investor in Baltimore, with a single convenience store, but has since grown his company across the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Southern states. With his son by his side, the company’s portfolio has blossomed to a $1.2 billion real estate portfolio with 146 properties representing approximately 10 million square feet.

The firm targets strip centers and shopping malls in working-class areas with high vacancies but missed potential, said Verstandig.

“There is strong demand for grocery and discounted retail stores that the current properties aren’t fulfilling,” he said. “By offering lower rental rates, we can bring these retailers into a market where they will thrive.”

His core tenants include such neighborhood stalwarts as Roses, Maxway, Dollar General, Food Lion, Save-A-Lot, Giant Eagle, Harbor Freight Tools, Ace Hardware, Tractor Supply Co., Advanced Auto Parts, Auto Zone, Peebles Department Store, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Cato Clothing, and Ollie’s. Many of these retailers lease at several America’s Realty properties.

“We are concentrating on new acquisition opportunities in mid-size cities, particularly secondary and tertiary markets with robust local economies,” added Tropp.

“Pricing in these markets remains attractive and provides the flexibility to turn around underperforming properties, extend leases with existing tenants and make improvements that draw long-term retailers.”
As the year wraps up, Verstandig has his sights on 2019 and is open to new offerings.

He and Tropp hope to forge new relationships with owners looking to sell and sales brokers in markets untapped yet by America’s Realty.

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