In a nearly $300 million deal, Las Vegas developer Terri Sturm has sold six shopping centers to an Illinois real estate giant. Inland Diversified Real Estate Trust acquired a majority stake in the centers, which total 1.7 million square feet, from Sturm’s Territory Inc.
The properties include the 525,000-square-foot Eastern Beltway Center at Eastern Avenue and the 215 Beltway, and the 860,000-square-foot Centennial Center near the U.S. 95-beltway interchange in northwest Las Vegas. The $296.3 million bulk sale, recorded Dec. 28, might be the largest real estate deal in Las Vegas in years.
“Even during the boom, there weren’t too many portfolios sold like this,” said Nelson Tressler, an executive managing director with real estate brokerage Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. Territory developed five of the six centers with partner firms. Inland bought two of the centers outright, though Territory and its development partners still hold a minority stake in the other four, Inland President and Chief Operating Officer Barry Lazarus said. He declined to say which centers are now partially owned by Territory and which ones are not.
Nevertheless, the centers have major national tenants and, according to Inland, an average occupancy rate of 94 percent. Tenants include Wal-Mart, Home Depot and OfficeMax, as well as other chains such as Petco and RadioShack. Eastern Beltway, for instance, has little available space, is often packed with shoppers and sits right off the freeway at a heavily traveled portion of Eastern Avenue.
“It isn’t very often a portfolio of this magnitude comes along,” Lazarus said. Territory was the fifth-largest commercial landlord in the valley as of last summer with 3.5 million square feet under ownership, according to VEGAS INC research. CEO Sturm founded the company in 1993. Her husband, developer Roland V. “Rollie” Sturm, has the title of “owner” on Territory’s website.
Terri Sturm has worked in real estate since at least the mid-1980s, including as a developer for powerhouse shopping mall owner Simon Property Group. Rollie Sturm has worked as a real estate lawyer, launched two development firms and, as of three years ago, was a partner in the Sugar Factory, the dessert shop that now has locations at Paris Las Vegas, MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood and the Mirage. Local real estate executives could only speculate as to why Terri Sturm sold the shopping hubs. Lazarus said he first heard a year ago that Sturm was at least thinking about a sale, and his company held its first “serious talks” with her in May.
In an email, Sturm said she was traveling Friday and was unavailable for comment. Rollie Sturm declined to comment, saying the Inland deal was his wife’s “from start to finish.”
Based in Oak Brook, Ill., Inland owns and operates 141 properties, which had a combined purchase price of about $2.2 billion. The portfolio contains 12.3 million square feet of retail, industrial and office space, as well as 444 multi-family units. Before the Territory deal, Inland affiliates owned one or two shopping centers in the valley, local real estate executives said. Its new investment shows the company is willing to expand in Las Vegas and write a hefty check to do so, said Kyle Nagy, a director with Henderson-based mortgage banking firm CommCap Advisors. He also pointed out that Inland is a major institutional investor and not just any run-of-the-mill landlord.
“That’s the key of this transaction,” he said.