SouthPark-area shopping center acquired by new owners

A local commercial real estate firm has purchased the SouthPark-area Specialty Shops on the Park for $25 million, the company said Monday, and plans to attract new national tenants to the center.

Hill Partners, the firm that converted the old Cotswold Mall to the Cotswold Village Shops, teamed up with GRE Specialty Shops to complete the purchase, the companies said. GRE is affiliated with investment firm Guggenheim Partners.

Hill Partners President Bob Spratt said there are about three vacancies in the shopping center, whose anchor tenants include Williams-Sonoma, Talbots and Toscana Ristorante.

“From a merchandising standpoint, we’re looking to build off what currently exists,” Spratt said. He said the firm will be looking to attract “unique additions” of new retailers to the shopping center, which is located on Morrison Boulevard.

“We don’t have signed leases, but we have a lot of interest,” he said. Spratt expects to announce new tenants within the next six months or so.

When the shopping center last sold in 2004, it fetched a price of $10.4 million from former owner Aston Properties, according to county property records.

The company will also invest in some upgrades at the shopping center, but Spratt said those plans haven’t been finalized yet.

Spratt said he believes the SouthPark area will continue to be one of the strongest retail submarkets in the Southeast, comparable to Atlanta’s Buckhead or Virginia’s Tysons Corner.

“SouthPark is the entry point for retailers coming into the market here,” he said. “And they may not want to pay the freight associated with SouthPark Mall.”

Spratt said Hill Partners is looking at other infill development opportunities in the SouthPark area.