Housing Developer To Buy Galleria Center

Apr 24, 2013

Story by: Wayne Faulkner, posted on StarNewsOnline.com

A developer of multifamily housing has signed a letter of intent to purchase the empty Galleria shopping center on Wrightsville Avenue.

Woodfield Investments of Arlington, Va., bought the center at 6800 Wrightsville Ave. If the deal closes it will be “a pretty sizeable transaction,” said Brian Eckel of Cape Fear Commercial, who along with Hank Miller represents the seller.

Eckel would not, however, give a selling or asking price for the property, which had five bidders.

The 97,864-square-foot center sits on 12 acres. The property – which is actually two parcels – is assessed at $5.43 million, according to the New Hanover County Tax Office.

Although on the mainland portion of New Hanover County, the property is in Wrightsville Beach.

Brian Schick, who represents Woodfield in the transaction, said Wednesday he would have no comment until his company is under contract, but said that could come in a couple of weeks.

But Eckel said, “I think the highest and best use for the property is certainly luxury apartment homes.

“Retail has proven to be very challenging in that location with the shift of the traffic patterns, but it is possible there could be some type of mixed-use component, albeit residential will still likely be the dominant use.”

The Galleria is across Wrightsville Avenue from the Lumina Station shopping center, which fronts Eastwood Road.

The Harris Teeter adjacent to Lumina Station once was an anchor at the Galleria.

Other former tenants of the Galleria included Rite Aid, Wrightsville Grille and office users. Robert Mitzel, regional president of Equity One Inc., the center’s owner, said last year that demolition was a possibility for the Galleria.

Mitzel said at the time that the center had “become antiquated over time.”

Built in 1986, it was one of the first developments in that area.

Mitzel said his group bought the center in 1992 and “it was a great asset.”

But “two-story retail,” he said, “just doesn’t work today in non-urban areas.”

Eckel and Miller, meanwhile, have listed another Wrightsville Beach landmark – property that included the Middle of the Island and Olympia restaurants.

“We will be holding a call for offers in the next few weeks,” Eckel said.

Founded in 2005, Woodfield owns or is building has apartment complexes in Raleigh, Charlotte, Wake Forest and Mount Pleasant, S.C.

View the original story on  Star News Online.