Undaunted by Pandemic, Retail Investor Makes $20.4M Sweetwater Buy

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Undaunted by Pandemic, Retail Investor Makes $20.4M Sweetwater Purchase

A mall developer and investor sees the coronavirus pandemic as a boom in retail real estate and is still buying a Best Buy store in suburban Sweetwater for $ 20.4 million.

RK Centers, founded and run by Raanan Katz, partner in Miami Heat, bought the property from Shops at 107th LLC in Sunny Isles Beach. The seller is managed by Salomon Hanono, a private equity and import-export expert.

The deal for 10760 NW 17th St. closed on Friday for $ 447 per square foot. The 45,675-square-foot big-box store is located between the Dolphin and Miami International shopping malls on 4.23 acres on the southwest corner of Northwest 107th Avenue and 17th Street.

This is one of only a handful of major retail stores in South Florida this year as businesses slowed with the surge in COVID-19 cases. South Florida retail sales were $ 405 million for the first half, a decrease of 55% from the first half of last year. This is based on data from the CBRE Group Inc.

Temporary shutdowns of unnecessary stores at the start of the pandemic and market uncertainty kept investors away, but RK Centers said the Sweetwater acquisition had a strong tenant in a good location.

"The location of this asset coupled with the presence of a strong national tenant like Best Buy made this a unique and desirable property for us," said Andrew Zidar, RK vice president of development and acquisitions, in a news release.

When most retailers were told to close, Best Buy resumed online sales and arranged for roadside pickups at its stores.

Overall, Miami-Dade County's fundamentals showed some impact from the pandemic in the second quarter, as the nationwide retail vacancy rate rose 4.5% to 4.5% from the first quarter, according to Colliers International South Florida. The county also recorded 230,698 square feet of net negative absorption.

RK Centers – with offices in Needham, Massachusetts and Sunny Isles Beach – has a mall and other retail operations across South Florida under the RK name, as well as in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

RK bought seven regional and community shopping centers for a total of $ 100 million last year. South Florida and the Northeast US have assets of nearly 500,000 square feet.

Axiom Capital Advisors LLC's principal and broker, Roberto Susi, represented the seller in the Sweetwater deal and Axiom's Jose Sasson-Lerner represented the buyer.

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