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Home of Port’s only grocery to be auctioned PDF Print E-mail
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Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 17:33

North Port Shopping Center likely to be sold to high bidder next week

    The North Port Shopping Center on Port Washington’s north side will be auctioned off next week.

    The shopping center at 101 W. Seven Hills Rd. — home to the city’s lone grocery store, Sanfilippo’s Sentry — has already generated a considerable amount of interest, said Matson Holbrook of Siegel-Gallagher, which manages the mall and is working on the auction.


    “We’ve been talking to a lot of local, regional, even national folks,” Holbrook said. “We’ve had a good amount of interest in the property.


    “We’re excited about this. We think it could be a very good opportunity for an investor.”


    Holbrook said a handful of potential buyers went through the shopping center during an open house last month, and he expected more to visit during an open house that was to be held Wednesday, July 9.


    “Typically people don’t start looking until it’s closer to the auction date,” he said. The auction, which is being marketed through auction.com, begins Monday, July 14, and closes Wednesday, July 16.


    The minimum bid is $800,000.


    The importance of the shopping center to the community is not lost on city officials, including Mayor Tom Mlada, who issued a press release Tuesday publicizing the sale.


    The city is willing to work with the new buyer to redevelop the shopping center, Mlada said, noting it has been identified as a key redevelopment priority by the city’s Community Development Authority.


    “We believe it presents investors with intellectual and financial capital an incredible opportunity, and we stand ready to partner with new ownership and help drive a successful long-term vision,” Mlada said.


    “This is a vital gateway property for our great city, so it is important we get all aspects of its future right, including new ownership, long-term visioning and future development.”


    The shopping center’s importance to the community may be one reason it is generating significant interest, but Holbrook said there are others as well.


    Shopping centers with a grocery store as an anchor are sought after, he said, and the North Port Shopping Center has a nice mix of other tenants that complement the grocer, including Cost Cutters, Subway and Lakeshore Veterinary Specialists.


    Easy freeway access is also a plus, Holbrook said, as is the fact that there is a neighboring vacant property. That offers buyers the potential to buy additional land for a development.


    But City Administrator Mark Grams said that although the center is right off I-43, it isn’t visible from the freeway and that has limited the center’s success.


    If the new buyer were to also acquire the neighboring property, which runs to the west and north of the center, they may be able to make it more visible, he said.


    Grams said he believes the number of tenants in the shopping center is what makes it an attractive property for potential buyers.


    “That’s important,” he said. “Someone’s going to buy it because it’s got tenants.”


    The North Port Shopping Center, which was built in 1987, sits on 6.5 acres at the intersection of Seven Hills Road — also known as Highway LL — and Wisconsin Street.


    The shopping center has 67,215 square feet of rental space, 89.5% of which is currently leased to seven tenants. There is 7,328 square feet of vacant space in three storefronts.


    The shopping center is assessed at $3,468,000, City Treasurer Doug Miller said. Of that, the land is valued at $684,000 and the improvements at $2,784,000.


    The property, which is owned by a limited liability corporation based in Miami Beach, Fla., paid $63,397 in property taxes last year, Miller said, making it the seventh-largest taxpayer in the city.


    To try and ensure only serious bidders take part in the auction, potential buyers must register ahead of time and place a $25,000 deposit to pre-qualify for the auction, Holbrook said.


    Unlike most auctions, he said, potential buyers can gain access to due-diligence documents such as leases and income statements, before the auction.


    Typically, that information is only available after the completion of an auction, Holbrook said.


    “We’ve made it available up front so everyone knows what they’re getting,” he said.


Image information: THE NORTH PORT SHOPPING CENTER, home to Port Washington’s only grocery store, is expected to be sold at auction next week.  Photo by Bill Schanen IV

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