The Bratton Team

We have noted here previously that retailers have been the most active developers of shopping centers in Hawaii. The attached article shows the full cycle from acquisition thru development and disposition. What’s unique about this developer is they can choose to sell when the cycle is at the peak. Most developers need to sell within a year after the completion of construction just as the income is being “seasoned”. Safeway is securing long term locations within key trade areas and has the luxury to re-cycle the capital at the peak of the market and reinvest in new loactions.These properties are coming to market now as buyers are finding less high quality credit investments in the commercial real estate arena. Coupled with the volatility of other investments, shopping centers and office buildings in Hawaii with great credit tenants are at a premium. The difference between A quality properties and C quality properties is widening. See the link below for more details on Safeway’s portfolio sale.

Safeway Inc. has put its flagship Kapahulu complex on the market just as it prepares to open a new store on Beretania Street.

Safeway plans to sell the buildings and land, and lease the supermarket portion from the new owner.

The complex, also home to Barefoot League, Cold Stone Creamery and Burgers on the Edge, is part of a four-property portfolio that includes retail outlets in West Hollywood, Dublin and Burlingame, Calif., according to a confidential offering memorandum obtained by the Star-Advertiser.

“The offering represents one of the highest quality grocery-anchored portfolios presented in the United States over the past decade,” according to the memorandum by New York brokerage firm Eastdil Secured, which is offering the properties to a select group of investors with no asking price.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based grocery chain will enter into a long-term lease with a buyer to “demonstrate the importance” of the properties.

“In this case, there would be no effect on Safeway whatsoever if a new owner would be interested,” said Susan Houghton, Safeway’s director of public affairs.

The 4.7-acre complex, built in 2007, has 10 tenants in addition to Safeway and a gross leasable area of 78,608 square feet.

The supermarket is one of the company’s highest-volume stores in Hawaii based on sales, according to marketing materials.

It is an “extremely rare opportunity for fee ownership of a premier grocery-anchored retail property in Honolulu,” the memorandum said.

“Honolulu is a severely supply-constrained market with limited, if any, developable land remaining, high barriers to entry, and very few retail opportunities available. Given the scarcity of available land and existing restrictions in the Waikiki district, the area is effectively built-out.”

Meanwhile, a grand opening for the grocery chain’s new Beretania store, measuring about 64,000 square feet, is scheduled for Friday, and the store will be open to the public on Saturday, operating 24 hours.

Safeway’s strategy in recent years has been to develop new stores in conjunction with adjacent retail space for restaurants and other tenants through its affiliate Property Development Centers.

Its projects include a Safeway-anchored complex in Ewa Beach and two slated for construction next year in Lihue and Hilo.

“This is their unique strategy — basically they’re investing much more capital then a typical retailer would,” said Mark Bratton, vice president of the investment properties division at Colliers International. “Now what they’re doing is capitalizing on that, getting their money out so that they can go to their next location.”

Bratton said at least three of his clients are interested in the portfolio.

“We’ve had a couple buyers come through town and get serious about it,” he said.

Safeway operates about 1,700 stores across North America.

It opened its first Hawaii store on Beretania Street in 1963.

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