Note: This story was updated on Oct. 11 to correct the amount Stockbridge paid to acquire most of the Village at Waterside shopping center.
A Miami firm has purchased an East Brainerd retail center anchored by Office Depot for $6.1 million and is looking for other possible acquisitions in what investors see as an attractive Tennessee market.
Centennial Management Corp., a Miami Lakes, Florida-based real estate company that owns dozens of apartment complexes, industrial buildings and commercial centers, bought the 38,700-square-foot retail center at 2273 Gunbarrel Road last month. The East Brainerd complex includes Office Depot, the Forbidden City buffet restaurant and a MurMaid Mattress store, along with two office locations.
"We're very excited about this acquisition in what we believe is a very strong area on a great road," Lewis Swezy, the managing principal for Centennial Management, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We love the growth potential of Chattanooga."
The Gunbarrel Road property purchase is Swezy's first in Tennessee, but he thinks the Volunteer State "is really growing" and said he is eager to make acquisitions elsewhere in Tennessee, he said.
The retail center purchased by Swezy was built in 2001 on nearly 3.7 acres along Gunbarrel Road just south of Shallowford Road and just north of Hamilton Place mall.
"There's only one vacancy now in this development," Swezy said. "We hope to maintain it pretty much as it is, although we're looking at redoing the parking lot and painting the buildings."
The purchase is valued at more than $158 per square foot of building space on the Gunbarrel Road site.
Centennial Management Co. is a long-term owner of property and owns about 4,500 apartments, 800,000 square feet of industrial building space and about 20,000 square feet of other commercial space, primarily in Florida, Swezy said. He said he is buying the Chattanooga retail center in a partnership with a personal friend, Nicholas Ekonomou, who has made other investments in South Florida and now lives in Chattanooga.
The Gunbarrel corridor in East Brainerd continues to attract investor interest from across the nation.
Last year, a private equity firm in Atlanta known as Stockbridge paid $50.8 million to acquire most of the Village at Waterside shopping center along Shallowford and Gunbarrrel roads just north of Hamilton Place mall. Also last year, a Chicago-based investment firm acquired the Atrium medical complex on Gunbarrel Road for $27.6 million, and in late 2021, Flagship Healthcare Properties, a real estate investment trust in Charlotte, North Carolina, paid $6 million to acquire the Pomerance Eye Center near Erlanger East Hospital on Gunbarrel Road.
In the past three years, four apartment complexes also have sold in the East Brainerd area to outside investors for a collective value of $127 million, according to Hamilton County property records.