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Why This Major REIT Is Targeting Iconic Assets

The firm and its local has invested close to $200 million in the Miami market within the past year.
Jan. 23, 2016

MIAMI—Federal Property Trust is on a mission to reboot some of South Florida’s most iconic properties. In 2015, the publicly-traded REIT purchased CocoWalk for $87.5 million and Sunset Place for $110.2 million in partnership with Comras Company and Grass River Property.

These purchases represented the firm’s entry into the Miami market, and it appears the firm is just getting started. GlobeSt.com caught up with Chris Weilminster, executive vice president and president of the Mixed-Use Division for Federal Realty Investment Trust, to find out why the firm is so interested in South Florida and how these properties are morphing under new ownership in part one of this exclusive interview.

Globest.com: What drew Federal Realty and your partners to Sunset Place just months after purchasing CocoWalk for $88 million?

Wellminster: Federal’s joint venture with local partners Grass River Property and The Comras Company has invested close to $200 million in the Miami market within the past year, with a focus on the South Miami and Coconut Grove submarkets. Both areas have distinct character, but they also share some important qualities that are aligned with our investment criteria, including pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, strong household incomes and demographics, and high barriers to entry for new development. The Shops at Sunset Place, like CocoWalk, was always envisioned as a property that would be seamlessly integrated with surrounding streets, so we’re going to be working with both communities to create greater neighborhood connectivity.

GlobeSt.com: What kind of changes have come online since you took ownership of Sunset Place in October of last year?

Wellminster: It’s only been three months, but we’ve already introduced a series of physical improvements that are sending a message of progress to the community and our tenants as we work on a long-term plan. New landscaping has enhanced the overall experience, new accent lighting is improving the ambiance both within the center and along Sunset Drive on the outside, and our parking garage has been repainted.

Our next phase of upgrades will include renovating public restrooms throughout the property. We also completed a 23,000 square foot lease with Frontgate, the high-end furniture retailer, which opened their first Florida location at Sunset Place last November.

By Jennifer Leclaire

Read more at GlobeSt.com.