German investor buys Publix-anchored Boynton Beach retail plaza for $80M

Fountains of Boynton last sold for $47.3M in a 2017 bankruptcy auction

The Fountains of Boynton shopping plaza with Union Investment’s Matthew Scholl (Google Maps, Union Investment)
The Fountains of Boynton shopping plaza with Union Investment’s Matthew Scholl (Google Maps, Union Investment)

Union Investment bought the Publix-anchored, fully leased Fountains of Boynton shopping center for $79.5 million.

The investment arm of Germany’s DZ Bank Group bought the five-building plaza on the northwest corner of Jog Road and West Boynton Beach Boulevard from an affiliate of New York-based DRA Advisors, records show.

Union Investment bought the property on behalf of an open-ended real estate fund called Unilmmo: Europa, according to a Union news release.

The property spans 23.2 acres near Boynton Beach at 6545, 6555, 6627, 6661 and 6667 Boynton Beach Boulevard, as well as at 9811 South Jog Road, property records show.

Fountains totals 174,996 square feet across, according to the release. It was built in 1994 and modernized in 2017.

Tenants include LA Fitness Signature Club, Lucille’s Bad to the Bone BBQ, a dentist’s office and a UPS store.

DRA Advisors bought Fountains of Boynton in 2017 out of bankruptcy, after submitting the winning bid of $47.3 million.

DRA, led by David Luski, is a real estate investment adviser focused on investment and management, with $11.2 billion in gross assets under management as of a year ago, according to its website. Since it was founded in 1986, it has bought more than 1,800 properties valued at over $34 billion.

Union Investment, led by Michael Bütter, is Germany’s biggest capital manager for open-ended real estate funds, according to its website. Its portfolio includes more than 19,500 hotel keys, over 4,000 shops and restaurants, and office and logistics space. Its parent DZ Bank is one of Germany’s biggest banks by asset size.

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9811 South Jog Road (Google Maps)

9811 South Jog Road (Google Maps)

Union Investment’s Matthew Scholl said in the release that having a grocer as an anchor is “highly desirable”.

Founded in 1930 by George Jenkins, Lakeland, Florida-based Publix operates nearly 1,300 stores in the Southeast U.S. Publix-anchored centers in South Florida have fetched high prices in recent months.

In October, a joint venture of Kimco Realty and Blackstone bought a 70 percent interest in five South Florida Publix-anchored shopping centers and one in Georgia for $425.8 million.

Also in Boynton Beach, Barberry Rose Management paid $16.5 million for the Quantum Village shopping center with a Publix anchor in September.

Yet, the grocer has received backlash from customers who are boycotting the chain over its political affiliations. A member of the billionaire Jenkins family, Julie Jenkins Fancelli, donated $300,000 to former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally that came immediately prior to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, according to media reports.

Another of Jenkins’ daughters, Carol Jenkins Barnett, died on Wednesday after having early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She was 65.

Although retail generally took a hit over the past year and a half during the pandemic, grocery stores remained buoyant even amid e-commerce growth.

Landlords increased retail rents to above pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter, as vacancy rates fell across South Florida, according to a Colliers report. In Palm Beach County, the retail vacancy rate in the third quarter was 4.7 percent, a drop from 5.2 percent in the third quarter of 2020.