Midtown Raleigh News

Real Deals: New York shopping center investor likes the Triangleâ™s DNA

As a family-owned real estate firm that specializes in neighborhood shopping centers, DNA Partners has found the Triangle an ideal market for its investing strategy.

The Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.-based company focuses on growing markets with strong demographics, which DNA partner David Weinstein says looks like this in the Triangle:

“Young people that are moving out of the North and moving to the South. People who are retiring. People deciding to start a family and career. You’ve got government that is building infrastructure. You’ve got schools that are coming up. You’ve got a community of people that are excited to be here.”

Or, to put it another way, the Triangle looks a lot like markets in Texas, where DNA already owns four shopping centers.

This week DNA, which is run by Weinstein and his sister Amy Stevens, made its second acquisition in the Triangle in the past three months, acquiring Greystone Village shopping center on Lead Mine Road in North Raleigh for $13.3 million, according to Wake County property records. In late May, the company paid $7.7 million for Hope Valley Square shopping center on Shannon Road in Durham.

DNA had earlier owned the Lynnwood Collection shopping center on Creedmoor Road in Raleigh, which it sold in late 2010 after owning it for a little more than a year.

Weinstein said there are no plans to flip the company’s recently acquired Triangle assets.

“In the case of the Greystone, the plan is a long-term improvement just because we happen to love Raleigh,” he said.

Greystone Village’s anchor tenant is Food Lion, and all but one of the 85,665-square-foot center’s retail spaces is leased, Weinstein said. DNA plans to make improvements to the center’s parking lot, lighting and building façades and also to ramp up marketing and community outreach.

Weinstein said that means ice cream events, maybe a jazz band playing Wednesday nights in the courtyard, and a pumpkin patch at Halloween.

Although such personal touches may vary depending on the market and the tenant mix within each center, Weinstein said, DNA always tries to come up with novel ways to pull more shoppers in.

“Our assets are not your typical Dick’s Sporting Goods,” he said. “We’re more part of the neighborhood, and that’s why we need to be involved and hands-on.”

As for DNA’s focus on smaller-size retail centers, Weinstein said such places will always do well in markets where they are surrounded by vibrant neighborhoods.

“People always need neighborhood centers where they’re going to go and get their nails done, grab a meal,” he said.

DNA considers the Triangle to be part of a larger investment area that stretches to Charlotte and Charleston, S.C. With the region’s demographics only getting better, the company is already looking for additional properties to acquire.

“We’re looking at another property in Raleigh,” Weinstein said. “We’re looking at a couple in Charlotte, two in Charleston.”