Bricktown Square shopping center in Chicago

California Shopping Center Owner Buys Bricktown Square in Chicago

NewMark Merrill Scoops Up ‘Dominant’ Retail Center on City’s Northwest Side.

With Chicago fully reopened and almost all pandemic restrictions lifted, shopping center owner NewMark Merrill Cos. has wasted no time in demonstrating that it believes in the city’s retail sector.

NewMark Merrill, based in Woodland Hills, California, said it bought the 292,309- square-foot Bricktown Square retail center at the northwest corner of North Narragansett and West Fullerton Avenue from local commercial real estate firm Bonnie Investment Group.

Bricktown Square is almost fully occupied by tenants including discount retailer Ross Dress for Less and grocer Aldi. The property has been on the California firm’s radar to buy for over two years and is positioned to thrive as retail recovers from the health crisis, NewMark Merrill CEO Sandy Sigal said in a statement.

“Through the pandemic, social unrest and a negative narrative around retail, we were able to identify, secure financing and close on a property that we believe is the dominant retail center in the trade area,” Sigal said. NewMark Merrill declined to disclose the price it paid for the center. The former owner refinanced the four-building property with a $35.5 million loan that appraised it at $47.9 million in 2012, according to CoStar records. General retail properties in the northwest city have attracted plenty of investors, and the area has been among the most heavily traded districts in greater Chicago over the past several years, according to CoStar Market Analytics. Annual sales have averaged $328 million over the past five years and reached $214 million in 2020 despite the effects
of the pandemic.

The new owner intends to invest in deferred maintenance and upgrade signage, as well as help promote the center’s businesses, which also include Harbor Freight Tools, XSport Fitness, DD’s Discounts and Farmer’s Best Market, and organize community events.

NewMark owns three other retail properties in the Chicago area, including Stony Island Plaza in Chicago, Stratford Crossing in Bloomingdale, Illinois, and Winston Plaza in Melrose Park, Illinois..

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