NJ Shopping Center Pulls in $46.5M Refi From JP Morgan


J.P. Morgan Chase is lending $46.5 million to a New York developer to refinance a shopping center it owns in central New Jersey, Commercial Observer can first report.

The deal recapitalizes Sun Equity Partners‘ interest in Greenleaf at Howell, an outdoor mall that Sun Equity built there after buying the land six years ago. The approximately 345,000-square-foot property at 5313 Route 9 North in Howell, N.J., is anchored by BJ’s Wholesale Club and also features a large LA Fitness gym location.

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JLL brokered the debt deal on behalf of Sun Equity. Aaron Appel, Jonathan Schwartz, Keith Kurland and Brett Rosenberg led the team that placed the loan with J.P. Morgan.

“Sun Equity Partners has extensive experience in developing and repositioning large retail shopping centers,” Appel said in a statement. “Sun Equity currently owns and manages a portfolio exceeding 10 million square feet across the United States, [which] further solidifies its experience and ability to boost in-place occupancy and cash flow at Greenleaf at Howell.”

Indeed, Sun Equity’s retail holdings include a pair of East Coast shopping centers also attached to the Greenleaf moniker: There’s Greenleaf at Union, a 95,000-square-foot asset in Union, N.J.; and Greenleaf at Delran, which boasts nearly 172,000 square feet in Delran, N.J. It also owns a mall in Philadelphia and is developing another retail asset in Astoria, Queens, and additionally controls office buildings in New York City, New Jersey and San Francisco.

Contra the grim national retail backdrop, in recent years shopping centers have enjoyed a steady business climate in the Garden State, which had America’s fourth-highest per capita income last year, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. New Jersey’s retail vacancy rate barely spiked during the Great Recession and has by now fallen to well below its level from ten years ago, down to 4.2 percent, as per research from Colliers (CIGI) International. Asking rents have risen seven of the last eight years, and the retail industry, which employs about 850,000 people in the state, has shown modest job growth as well.

Representatives for J.P. Morgan Chase and Sun Equity did not immediately respond to inquiries.