ST. PETERSBURG, FL – (May 10, 2019) – The Sembler Company will highlight its latest developments and leasing opportunities at this year’s International Council of Shopping Centers RECON, May 19-22. Meet the Sembler team at Booth S320Q.
“Sembler has more square footage under construction right now than we have at any one time in the last decade,” said Sembler CEO Ron Wheeler. “Leasing is strong, and we’ve already made a number of new shopping center acquisitions. There’s a lot to be optimistic about, from our perspective.”
Occupancy over Sembler’s entire managed portfolio averages approximately 95%, including Sembler-owned and third-party properties throughout the Southeastern U.S. and Puerto Rico.
“There’s still high demand for space for health, beauty and wellness uses, along with quick-service restaurants,” said Sembler Vice President of Leasing Nichole Popovics. “Expansion in these sectors has been a particularly good fit for Sembler’s portfolio, with our focus on grocery-anchored neighborhood centers.”
Popovics says, “The grocery sector isn’t going anywhere. Like everyone else, grocers are ramping up omni-channel sales and service offerings. But delivery and online orders have to be filled somewhere close by, so bricks and mortar are still key.”
Sembler has about one million square feet under development right now throughout the southeastern U.S.
“We are very excited about the shopping centers we have under construction and in development, and encouraged by the continued appetite for growth from retailers in the markets where we operate,” said Josh Beyer, Senior Vice President of Development for Sembler. “We are as or more active with new development today than any other time in the economic cycle.”
While the grocery-anchored sector is a strategic focus for Sembler, the company is also actively working on complementary retail projects in its venture with Atlanta-based Berkley Development.
Sembler’s Build-To-Suit division continues building out stores in a variety of categories. “We have broadened our Build To Suit tenant mix, and we are excited to continue working with industry leaders of their respective fields,” said J.P. Guzzardo, Vice President of Development for Sembler. Particularly, Sembler is actively doing deals with tenants such as Advance Auto Parts, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Starbucks, Express Oil, Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Wawa, Circle K, Walgreens, Verizon, and Skechers.
Sembler, both directly and through its venture with Forge Capital Partners in their Forge Real Estate Partners (FREP) investment funds, continues seeking to acquire shopping centers throughout the southeastern U.S. In their FREP funds, Sembler and Forge have now acquired 14 shopping centers together in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Texas.
“We’re excited to have teamed up again with Forge and launched FREP IV in the last year, the successor to our first venture together, FREP III, which is fully invested. We acquired 10 centers with an aggregate value of about $200 million in FREP III, and expect to do more in FREP IV,” said Sean Davis, Sembler’s Chief Investment Officer. “We’re off to a great start, with four FREP IV acquisitions in less than a year.”
The most recent acquisitions, closed last month, include:
“We are particularly proud of our efforts to invest in and adjacent to low-to-moderate income areas where we can stabilize and improve shopping centers to better serve those areas and provide a more attractive, clean and safe environment to meet the needs of those communities, all while delivering excellent returns to our investors,” said CEO Wheeler.
FREP is focused on the acquisition, development and redevelopment of retail real estate projects in the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico. FREP is a community development entity whose intent is to provide attractive returns to investors seeking socially responsible investment opportunities while promoting economic revitalization, business development, and job creation in or near low and/or moderate-income communities. Investors include public financial institutions that will receive credit under the Community Reinvestment Act for such investments.
Sembler has recently been investing in improvements to its customer experience. The company launched a new website last year, with a focus on streamlined content and more intuitive navigation. This year, Sembler’s new booth at RECON promises to be a more comfortable experience for visitors.
“Our new booth has more of an open, social, “café”-style feel to it,” said CEO Wheeler. “It’s more reflective of the approachable, responsive, transparent way we do business.”
The Sembler Company is celebrating nearly 55 years of creating retail real estate value. Sembler provides a full array of retail real estate services, including development and redevelopment, acquisition, property and asset management, leasing and other related services throughout the Southeastern United States and Puerto Rico. Sembler has developed more than 350 projects totaling 27 million square feet and currently leases and manages 10 million square feet. For more information, please visit www.sembler.com.