Steeplechase Plaza has been a very successful, classic redevelopment project of Vanguard. Purchased in 2013 from a publicly-traded REIT, this 95,000 square foot project was about 35% leased at the time of closing. Originally constructed with Publix, Walgreens, and Bealls Outlet as anchors, only Bealls Outlet was remaining, along with a few shop tenants, after both Publix and Walgreen’s relocated to new stores in the immediate vicinity.
Steeplechase Plaza Shop and Big Box Vacancy
We felt going in that the property was well positioned and had great visibility from the road, and that the main issue was that the previous owner had no local presence, and was leasing and managing the property remotely; this generally yields poor results in our experience.
Steeplechase Plaza – approximately 35% Leased
Almost immediately after closing, we started getting deals done, mostly on the smaller spaces, and mostly by being responsive, flexible, and creative. Within a year, we had leased virtually all of the small shop spaces, but still had some larger blocks of the former Publix and Walgreen’s spaces. We sought out Ace Hardware as being a retailer that was not in the trade area, and ultimately got them in the majority of the former Walgreen’s.
Ace Hardware – Steeplechase Plaza
After a lengthy process, we worked out a deal to relocate Bealls Outlet into the bulk of the former Publix space, essentially doubling their store size. This has proven to be a fantastic move for both Steeplechase Plaza and Bealls Outlet. The space that Bealls Outlet relocated from, we back-filled with Florida Sheriff’s Ranches Thrift Store, a regional operator.
Bealls Outlet – Steeplechase Plaza
Finally, we added 5,000 square feet onto the building in 2017, and combined it with an existing space of 5,000 feet, for a long-term lease with Davita Dialysis.
Steeplechase is currently 100% leased, with most of the leases being long-term in nature. In late 2017, we refinanced the property with a CMBS non-recourse loan with a long term and an attractive fixed interest rate; the proceeds were sufficient to retire all existing debt, pay back all of our investors initial equity money, as well as distribute additional funds. As a result, our investors are already guaranteed overall positive investment results, and still have a strong cash flow vehicle with absolutely no risk. This is a true best-case scenario.