News Column

Local firm buys 11 retail centers

May 10, 2014

By Alice Culp, South Bend Tribune, Ind.



May 10--SOUTH BEND -- South Bend-based Great Lakes Capital has completed the acquisition of 11 retail shopping centers in Indiana, including in Elkhart, Plymouth and Warsaw.

The real estate private equity firm has been working since January to finalize the deal, said Jeff Smoke, director of development for the firm.

The firm, which was founded in 2005, purchased the properties through its Credit Opportunity Fund I, which focuses on distressed commercial real estate.

"We were able to acquire these assets at a significant discount to replacement cost through a complex bankruptcy transaction process," Smoke said.

The company plans to enhance the properties, which vary in size from 5,000 to 25,000 square feet, and bring them back to their full operating potential. The 11 properties total 150,000 square feet.

Smoke explained that in many cases enhancing the property just means routine maintenance work that wasn't done in the past 24 months.

"Some of the properties are in great shape and some need a little more work," he said.

The acquisition will add a bigger geographic presence in the retail sector for the firm, Smoke said.

"They will allow us to significantly expand our retail footprint with exceptional property locations that are not threatened by e-commerce."

Great Lakes Capital owns Toscana Park and City Plaza shopping centers in Mishawaka among others.

ACulp@SBTinfo.com

574-235-6343

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Source: South Bend Tribune (IN)