Brixmor buys Whole Foods-anchored retail property in Houston

The New York-based REIT has 29 centers totaling 3.8 million SF in the Houston metro

Brixmor's James Taylor with 4004-4060 Bellaire Boulevard (Brixmor Property Group, Google Maps)
Brixmor's James Taylor with 4004-4060 Bellaire Boulevard (Brixmor Property Group, Google Maps)

Brixmor, a New York-based REIT focused on grocery-anchored shopping centers, bought another Houston area retail property, with a Whole Foods store.

Brixmor bought West U Marketplace at the corner of Weslayan and Bellaire Boulevard for $33.5 million, according to the Houston Chronicle. The 60,000 square-foot open-air plaza is about 8 miles west of downtown Houston.

West U is fully leased, with a 45,900 square-foot Whole Foods store, plus locations for Yoshi Sushi, Natural Pawz, Island Grill, French Cuff Boutique, River Oaks Nail & Spa and a Chase bank branch. Located in the wealthy suburb of Bellaire, the complex sees about 44,080 vehicles pass by the shopping plaza every day, according to JLL, which helped to broker the deal.

West U fits Brixmor’s “clustering strategy to own grocery-anchored shopping centers that build critical mass,” a Brixmor spokeswoman told the Chronicle in an email. “West U Marketplace is anchored by a highly productive Whole Foods Market and has below market in-place rents and significant remerchandising opportunities,” the company said in an SEC filing.

The seller, Camden Securities had owned the site since 2003, when it purchased the complex from Bellaire Shopping Center Associates, a subsidiary that appears to be tied to Fidelis Realty Partners, according to Harris County deed records.

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Brixmor describes itself as one of the largest open-air shopping center owners in the Houston area with 29 centers totaling 3.8 million square feet across the metro. Brixmor has 67 million square feet across its U.S. portfolio.

Over the past 12 months, the city’s retail market logged 6.3 million square feet of net absorption, or the difference between tenant move-outs and tenant move-ins, according to CoStar data. In other words, Houston was one of the top performing markets for retail space demand behind Dallas-Fort Worth.

In April, Brixmoor raised its bet on Chicago-area shopping centers by $100 million, picking one up for $75 million and another right next to a mall that faced foreclosure last year.

[Houston Chronicle] — Maddy Sperling