Ram buys Triangle shopping center

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via The Triangle Business Journal by Amanda Hoyle

A Florida real estate investment and development firm has paid $17.75 million for a Chapel Hill shopping center that’s in the heart of ongoing redevelopment within the Ephesus-Fordham District in Chapel Hill.

Ram Realty Services has bought the Village Plaza retail center building anchored by O2 Fitness and a series of small shops on Elliott Road from an investment fund long-managed by Mark Properties of Durham.

The nearly 68,000-square-foot retail center was 95 percent occupied at the time of the deal. Other tenants include Great Harvest Bread, Market Street Coffee and Monterrey Mexican.

The property, built in 1965, is south of the Whole Foods-anchored retail center also called Village Plaza, as well as the new Village Plaza Apartments project being developed by East West Partners of Chapel Hill. The new apartment building is adding 265 new apartment units and another 15,000 square feet of retail space once complete, plus a parking deck for residents and retail shoppers.

In 2014, Chapel Hill Town Council created the Ephesus-Fordham District, a 190-acre zoning district that stretches along E. Franklin Street, Ephesus Church Road and Fordham Boulevard that has its own form-based code. The new rules were designed to encourage redevelopment of the retail strip centers, parking lots and confusing roadways built up over time in the area since the 1950s.

The Village Plaza acquisition is the second major investment by Ram Realty Partners in the Triangle in the past year. The group also acquired the mixed-use Pavilion East complex in Erwin Road in Durham in December for $41 million and is developing a 263-unit apartment building on the Durham property.

“Our confidence in the Triangle’s long-term growth prospects has never been higher,” stated Ram CEO Casey Cummings in a news release about the deal. “The Triangle’s unique combination of higher learning institutions and respected employers has created attractive economic conditions for development and value-add investment.”

Mike Burkard and Steve Shields of CBRE’s Charlotte office represented the seller, Mark Properties, in the transaction.

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