Oakland Mills Village Center changing hands

Cedar Shopping Centers paying Kimco $8 million

July 27, 2005|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

The once-struggling Oakland Mills Village Center has been sold to a New York real estate investment trust that is focused on supermarket-anchored shopping centers.

Cedar Shopping Centers Inc. is buying the village shopping hub for $8 million from Kimco Realty Corp. in a deal that is expected to close next month.

"We think it's a very attractive shopping center in a very attractive community," said Leo S. Ullman, Cedar Shopping Centers' chief executive officer.

The village center, which is anchored by a Food Lion that opened in November, becomes the third of Columbia's nine village centers to be owned by a separate entity other than Kimco.

Kimco, based in New Hyde Park, N.Y., bought the Oakland Mills center -- along with seven other Columbia village centers -- from the Rouse Co. in 2002.

When Kimco bought Oakland Mills Village Center, it had no grocery store. Metro Food Market closed in 2001, which resulted in the center struggling to attract customers to smaller stores. The center also suffered a setback last year when the longtime neighborhood pub, Last Chance Saloon, closed.

But now the center is fully leased, with Food Lion opening in November last year and the Fire Rock Grill slated to open next month.

"It doesn't get any more healthy than that at the end of the day," said Kevin Allen, director of retail and office properties for Kimco. "You have a fully leased shopping center and a new anchor that recently opened."

Allen said that after Kimco improved the center, the time was right to sell it.

"We're continuing to grow, and we use proceeds of the sales of these sites to further our growth into other areas of the country," he said. "We just felt that since we made those leasing gains ... and with interest rates perhaps on the rise, it just made sense for us to sell now."

Kimco owns six of Columbia's nine village centers. Perrine & Wheeler bought Long Reach Village Center from Kimco in February of last year, and the Owen Brown Village Center is owned by Giant Food Inc.

Cedar Shopping Centers manages three shopping centers in Hagerstown, and Ullman said his company was attracted to Columbia's location.

"We've always liked the Baltimore-Washington corridor," Ullman said.

Ullman said he does not foresee his company making major changes to Oakland Mills Village Center, noting that all of the tenants are stable.

Barbara Russell, who represents Oakland Mills on the Columbia Association board of directors, said the village had an "excellent relationship" with Kimco and Allen, and hopes to establish a similar relationship with Cedar Shopping Centers.

"We hope that we will be able to talk to them as soon as possible," she said.

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