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Maryland shopping center firm acquires Hupps Mill for $3.9M

South Boston News / August 10, 2017
Coming off a foreclosure sale amid uncertainty about its future, Hupps Mill Plaza has a new owner and updated sale price: $3.9 million.

A Baltimore-based limited liability company acquired the 45-year-old shopping center in a July 26 sale that was negotiated by Cushman & Wakefield Thalhimer’s, a commercial property broker and management group that took over management of Hupps Mill following a foreclosure auction in December.

The purchaser is Hupps Mill Plaza Associates LLC, based in Baltimore. The special warranty deed provides the name of a principal, Carl Verstandig, who is President/CEO of America’s Realty, LLC, which owns shopping centers and other commercial properties in 19 states.

According to the company website, “America’s Realty is a blue collar shopping center acquisition firm. They purchased in a market that supports the middle class. Carl believes there is a strong demand for discounted retail.” Verstandig began his career as a small Maryland grocer and ventured into commercial real estate with a group of investors some 30 years ago. He and his son continue to run the company.

Core tenants of their other shopping centers include Variety Wholesalers — parent firm of Roses, Maxway and Super Dollar — Family Dollar, Food Lion, Home Depot, JC Penny, K-Mart, Dollar General and a number of other mid-level and discount retailers.

“Some of these companies have locations in a number of Carl’s properties and follow him as he buys new centers,” according to the company website.

Efforts to obtain comment from representatives of America’s Realty, LLC and Cushman & Wakefield were unsuccessful.

The nearest Virginia shopping center owned by Verstandig’s company is the Park Hill Plaza in South Hill.

The acquisition by Verstandig completes the transition of Hupps Mill to new ownership following a loan default by the shopping center’s longtime owner, Florida developer Justin Weisser and his family-owned firm. A foreclosure auction was held Dec. 9 at the Halifax County Courthouse after Weisser defaulted on a $6.4 million loan for Hupps Mill from 2006.

Listed as grantors in the July 26 sale of Hupps Mill are two companies: U.S. National Bank Association, trustee, and CWCapital Asset Management, a special servicer for disposing of distressed commercial properties. U.S. National Bank Association held the default note on the 173,351 square foot center.

The foreclosure auction and subsequent purchase of Hupps Mill by Verstandig’s group has produced more than a $70,000 windfall for Halifax County. The money comes in the form of recordation taxes and other fees arising from the twin transactions.

In May, some five months after the December 2016 foreclosure auction was held at the Courthouse steps, the Clerk of Court’s office received the new property deed with a check for $30,913.33 to pay recordation and grantors taxes.

The follow-up sale to Verstandig’s group in late July brought a new round of recordation and grantors tax payments, this time for a combined total of $41,889.33.

Hupps Mill Shopping Center has an assessed value of $7,123,876. The recent acquisition was backed by a $3,276,000 loan to the buyers by Langley Federal Credit Union in Newport News.

In an announcement of the sale Wednesday by Cushman & Wakefield Thalhimer’s, capital markets group first vice president Catherine Spangler noted that Hupps Mill is 77 percent leased with Belk, Goody’s and Shopper’s Value Foods as the anchor tenants.

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