9259 Mercato Way, Naples, FL
NAPLES — A Washington, D.C.-based investor has placed its bets on Naples, investing its money in four shopping centers.
Madison Marquette has acquired three shopping centers and an ownership interest in the Mercato, a “lifestyle center” jointly developed by The Lutgert Cos. and Barron Collier Cos.
Lutgert and Barron Collier, Naples-based companies, are still owners in Mercato, but Madison Marquette will assume management and leasing of the popular center, which spans 53 acres with residential condominiums built on top of 330,000 square feet of retail.
“Mercato is extremely well-situated and our primary focus will be on leasing the remaining available space and perfecting the merchandising mix to best serve the local community,” said David Brainerd, managing director of investment with Madison Marquette, in a statement.
He described Naples as an “affluent market that is gaining strength.”
“Madison Marquette’s involvement in thriving mixed-used ventures around the country confirms their grasp of the ever growing market segment specializing in upscale retail, residential and office villages and will benefit Mercato immensely,” said Howard Gutman, president of The Lutgert Cos.
Madison Marquette is a national real estate developer, operator and investor. It has interests in other Florida shopping centers including Hyde Park Village in Tampa and Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers.
Mercato, which opened in 2008 off U.S. 41 near Vanderbilt Beach Road, continues to add new tenants. Whole Foods is one of its anchors. Other tenants include Sur La Table, Coldwater Creek, Capital Grille and Blue Martini. The retail and office space at the center is 80 percent leased, according to Katie Sproul, president of Barron Collier Cos.
Madison Marquette has also acquired Crossroads Market, a 127,000 square foot neighborhood center off Pine Ridge Road anchored by a Publix and a Walgreens. The other acquisitions are Neapolitan Way, a Publix-anchored center with 138,000 square feet of retail at the corner of U.S. 41 and Neapolitan Way, and the adjacent Midway Plaza, a 28,000-square-foot showroom and strip retail center.
The out-of-town investor purchased a 50 percent stake in the three shopping centers some time ago, then acquired them outright, buying out the Lutgert family and trusts remaining interest in them when it became a partner in the Mercato, Gutman said.
The sale of the three shopping centers were partly motivated by “tax opportunities,” he said.
“It was a fair offer,” Gutman said. “It was a good transaction for both of us.”
Madison Marquette’s investment in the shopping centers was not disclosed. Because it was a transfer of ownership interest, no deeds were recorded, Gutman said.
The investment is a good sign, said Wes Kunkle, a commercial real estate broker and the founder of Kunkle Realty in Naples.
“When they start putting their money into the Naples market, it’s showing they are convinced there is an upward trend in the market,” he said. “Now they are picking us.”
Madison Marquette controls more than 3.7 million square feet of retail in Florida. “We approach every property with an eye towards creating value,” said Chuck Taylor, a senior vice president and head of the company’s Florida operations. “Naples has strong market fundamentals that are very appealing to retailers.”
Connect with Laura Layden at www.naplesnews.com/staff/laura_layden.