Atlanta firm buys The Shops at Georgetown Park for $272.5M

The mall has been renovated, but not everyone likes it. (Jeffrey MacMillan/Capital Business)
The mall, which Vornado purchased in a 2010 foreclosure auction, recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. (Jeffrey MacMillan/Capital Business)

Jamestown Properties, an Atlanta-based real estate investment and management firm that has long had ties to Georgetown, has reached a tentative agreement to buy The Shops at Georgetown Park for $272.5 million.

Vornado Realty Trust, which bought the beleaguered property in a 2010 foreclosure auction for $61 million, announced this week that it had agreed to sell the 305,000-square-foot mall to an undisclosed buyer. Angelo, Gordon & Co., a New York private equity fund which had a 50 percent stake in the mall, is also selling its share. The deal is slated to close later this summer.

A representative for the Georgetown Business Improvement District, a marketing organization for the area, identified the buyer as Jamestown. A spokesman for Jamestown declined to comment. The company’s portfolio currently includes the Georgetown Renaissance, which includes retailers such as Design Within Reach and Waterworks.

“Jamestown has already got a commitment to high-quality retail in Georgetown,” said Joe Sternlieb, chief executive of the Georgetown Business Improvement District. “They generally have a good vision when they pick up a property like this.”

The Shops at Georgetown Park, which opened in 1981, recently underwent a massive, multi-million dollar renovation. Dark inside spaces were done away with, and small mom-and-pop shops were replaced with national chains such as TJ Maxx/HomeGoods, DSW and Pinstripes, a 34,000-square-foot bowling alley-bocce-court-and-bistro concept. Other retailers include J. Crew, Anthropologie, H&M and Washington Sports Club. Sternlieb said the mix of tenants at the mall is not likely to change anytime soon.

Paramus, N.J.-based Vornado put the property up for sale earlier this year as part of a broader effort to move away from shopping malls.

The renovation “was certainly successful for Vornado. Now that question is: Is it a successful retail strategy to have these big boxes on the street?” Sternlieb said. “So far, the answer seems to be ‘yes.’ “

Abha Bhattarai covers local retail, hospitality and banking for The Washington Post. She has previously written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.

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