New owner of Upland Square looks to fill vacancies at center 

WEST POTTSGROVE — United Hampshire US REIT, the new owner of the Upland Square shopping center in West Pottsgrove, is focused on filling the current vacancies in the center.

In an emailed response to questions, the company said it is “actively marketing the vacancies now and have interest from several prospective consumer goods and service users, including off-price retailers, craft stores, sporting goods retailers, medical and food and beverage providers.”

Plans for the center at this point do not expand beyond leasing the vacant spaces in the center, which was 95% occupied at the time of the sale, the company said.

The sale of 400,674 square feet of retail space in the shopping center, which is anchored by a Giant Food Store, was finalized at the end of July, after being announced in June. United Hampshire US REIT — a Singapore real estate investment trust — purchased the center, 180 Upland Square Drive in West Pottsgrove, from Paramount Realty Services for $85.7 million.

The company said it had looked at the property several years ago, before it was purchased by Paramount, which is headquartered in Lakewood, N.J.

“We know Maurice Zekeria well and he reached out to us when he decided to put the property on market earlier in the year,” the company said in the emailed response. Zekeria is co-owner of Paramount Realty Services.

An aerial view of Upland Square Shopping Center in West Pottsgrove. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The purchase of Upland Square is United Hampshire US REIT’s second acquisition in Pennsylvania, and its 23rd overall — spanning more than 3.8 million square feet. Its portfolio includes 21 grocery-anchored and necessity-based properties and two modern self-storage facilities along the Interstate 95 corridor.

“Despite economic headwinds, credit-grade retail power centers in the eastern United States like Upland Square have showcased tremendous resiliency over the past several years,” Robert Schmitt, chief executive officer of United Hampshire US REIT Management Pte Ltd., said in a statement. “Through this acquisition, we have a rare opportunity to capitalize on the strong underlying fundamentals of this market to further bolster our portfolio of stable income-producing grocery-anchored and necessity-based retail properties.”

Derek Gardella, head of investments of United Hampshire US REIT, said the combination of population density and household income in the eastern U.S. “have ensured it continues to stand out among the nation’s retail markets.”

“We expect this momentum to continue over the long-term and we are excited to continue to grow our portfolio through the addition of assets like Upland Square over the next several years,” he said in a statement.

In addition to Giant, Upland Square’s tenants include TJ Maxx, Ross and Burlington — three of the most dominant national off-price retailers — according to the company, as well as Petco. Upland Square also has other major tenants including Ashley Furniture and Ulta Beauty Supplies.

The center is shadow-anchored by the 147,071-square-foot Target and the AMC Theatre — which were not part of the sale. Asked if United Hampshire US REIT plans to try to obtain the properties, the company said in the emailed response that Paramount Realty Services retains ownership, “but we have purchase rights if he elects to sell in the future.”

United Hampshire US REIT’s portfolio includes properties in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Its second Pennsylvania property is the 258,494-square-foot Penrose Plaza in southwest Philadelphia.

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