HENDERSON — The Henderson Mall on Dabney Drive has a new owner, a Maryland-based real-estate investment company that of late has been buying retail properties that have Food Lions as their anchor tenants.

Vance County land records show that a shell corporation controlled by Broad Reach Retail Partners acquired the mall, also known as Henderson Pointe, on April 19. The deal involved two transactions, and the new owners paid a combined $7.25 million for the properties involved.

The company by that time had already announced the acquisition on its website, as officials for the former owners signed the necessary paperwork April 9.

With capital to deploy, “Broad Reach remains an active buyer of grocery-anchored shopping centers,” said Nate Tower, the Maryland company’s CEO. “We know these types of centers are essential to their surrounding communities, and we know the value Broad Reach can bring by restoring them and filling retail voids to support the needs of their local residents.”

Broad Reach said the mall was 72% occupied and has 188,647 square feet of floor space. Along with the Food Lion, its major tenants are Harbor Freight, Roses and Badcock Home Furniture.

Local business leaders hadn’t known a deal was in the works, but welcomed Broad Reach’s purchase of the property from its former Florida-based owners.

“I think it’s positive news,” said Christian Lockamy, director of the Henderson-Vance Economic Development Corp. “It looks like they’ve been acquiring retail properties over a wide variety of states since 2006. Their goal is to transform the shopping centers by improving them, renovating them and seeking out new tenants. We’ve had newer retail spring up in that Dabney Drive area, so it would likely be a continuation of modern retail offerings for the community.”

Broad Reach’s announcement noted that the Henderson purchase was the third in recent months of a shopping center anchored by a Food Lion in the last six months. It bought the Warsaw Village complex in Warsaw, Virginia, in September and the Avent Ferry center in Raleigh in January.

Food Lions “have outstanding tenant credit and are an excellent draw to the centers they anchor,” said Nate McKay, Broad Reach’s acquisitions officer.

The deal for the Henderson Mall was the first Broad Reach closed using capital from a new investment fund set up to buy East Coast retail properties anchored by a grocery, Walmart or Target store.

Along with that, it’s been looking for acquisition possibilities where there are strong grocery sales, a vacancy rate on the property of 15% or more, a prospective rate of return of 7% or more and a purchase value of between $5 million and $50 million.

The preferred vacancy rate indicates that the company wants room to recruit a good number of its own tenants. Its announcement of the Henderson Mall deal stressed the company’s goal is to “leverage its talented leasing and management teams to revitalize these shopping centers.”

The major vacant space in the mall once housed Vance Charter School, which now occupies its own campus off Ross Mill Road.

“That’s going to be interesting if they can open it back up and we can walk inside again,” said Michele Burgess, president of the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce. “There’s a good amount [of space] where the charter school used to be.”

McKay also noted that investors are interested in being part of deals like this because “convenience-oriented retail, particularly strong grocery-anchored retail, has weathered the pandemic well.”

Lockamy said that while the pandemic “was tough on retail,” local sales tax revenues have actually increase and it “feels like retail is coming storming back.” It thus “doesn’t surprise me” there’s investor interest in properties like the mall,” he said.

Broad Reach is headquartered in Millerville, Maryland, a community about halfway between Baltimore and Annapolis.

Contact Ray Gronberg at rgronberg@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.

Contact Ray Gronberg at rgronberg@hendersondispatch.com or by phone at 252-436-2850.