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Cafaro Seeks Middle-Market Mall Acquisitions

by Nate Hunter

Youngstown, Ohio — The company oversees more than 30 million square feet of commercial real estate in 11 states.

South Hill Mall in Puyallup, Wash.Youngstown, Ohio  
— Cafaro Company is looking to expand its portfolio of enclosed, regional malls. The company, which was founded in 1949 and has been building regional malls since the 1960s, plans to add to the 30 million square feet already present in its portfolio. Currently, Cafaro Company owns malls in 11 states. Co-President Anthony Cafaro, Jr. says the company is expanding as a response to retail demand.

“There are several other larger retail developers that have been in the market for some time and their focus has been on Class A, major-metro shopping centers whether that is acquisitions or redevelopment,” says Cafaro. “But our niche has been the middle markets.”

Cafaro Company is defining middle markets as having between 200,000 and 450,000 people within the trade area. Also, centers should have a minimum leasable area of 600,000 square feet that are $300 per square foot and above in terms of productivity.

“We certainly look at every type of opportunity out there, but that’s really been the best sweet spot for us in terms of what we’ve been concentrating on within our existing portfolio,” Cafaro says.

This portfolio consists entirely of properties that have been built from the ground up by the shopping center developer itself. So actively seeking acquisitions is a “bit of a new foray for us” as Anthony Cafaro, Jr. says.

Even though no acquisitions have come to fruition just yet, he’s confidant that this venture will be a successful one for the privately owned company due to the way their business is structured.

“We don’t necessarily rely a whole lot on third-party financing,” Cafaro elaborates. “We can pull the trigger relatively quickly once we’ve identified a property that we feel would be appropriate.”

— Brittany Biddy

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