After half a year on the market, Redmond Town Center has new owners.
Chicago-based Fairbourne Properties closed Monday on the purchase of the 22-year-old shopping center for $192 million, according to documents filed with King County.
The deal, which was still being finalized over Christmas, includes three parcels: the two-story shopping center, the former Macy’s building and an adjacent commercial property. The sellers, New York-based DRA Advisors and JSH Properties of Bellevue, purchased the 120-acre property in 2013 for $127 million. The office and hotel portions of the center aren’t part of Monday’s deal.
Fairbourne Properties, which co-owns or manages 16 other shopping centers in the United States, is purchasing Redmond Town Center with a partner, Alabama-based Harbert Management, according to Fairbourne President David Harvey. Fairbourne negotiated the purchase after another prospective buyer backed out, Harvey said.
Retail experts say Redmond Town Center benefits from a prime location amid high-income neighborhoods and tech employers such as Microsoft; in addition, a light-rail stop will open near the center in 2024. But the open-air “village” style shopping center has often struggled to keep up with tonier local shopping centers, notably nearby Bellevue Square, and has suffered from the rise of e-commerce.
The Macy’s closure last spring was seen as a symptom of the problems faced by department stores, as well as many of the shopping centers that depend on them.
Yet JSH Properties, which has managed Redmond Town Center since 2013 and will stay on in that role for Fairbourne, Harvey said, was praised by industry insiders for its efforts to make the center more attractive to shoppers and to higher-end retailers. The efforts include creating a more pedestrian-friendly layout and a tenant mix that leans heavily toward local retailers, restaurants and health and fitness businesses.
Local commercial-real-estate experts say the solid sales price — at a time when some real-estate investors are shying away from big retail properties — reflects those improvements.
Another selling point: Redmond Town Center’s potential as a site for housing and additional office space, thanks to recent zoning changes and the coming light-rail station nearby.
“That there are still large transactions happening is a good sign,” said Damian Sevilla, vice president of retail sales and leasing with the Seattle office of Kidder Mathews. “Hopefully, the good news continues.”