The Washington Post

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 is a business reporter for The Washington Post. She has previously written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the St. Petersburg Times.
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