Avalon sold to arm of Prudential Financial

The Avalon development, perhaps the Atlanta area’s best known example of a walkable, mixed-use mini-city in the suburbs, has been sold to an arm of financial services giant Prudential Financial.

PGIM Real Estate said Monday it has acquired the Alpharetta project’s first phase and plans to buy the second phase once completed. Terms weren’t immediately known.

The sale will likely have little effect on consumers and residents. Developer North American Properties will remain as the manager of the retail center and the apartment operator also will remain.

North American set out to create a community, more than a retail center, that was immune from the effects of e-commerce by offering “experiential retail” and a unique living experience.

“It was the appropriate time to offer it for sale and Prudential is exactly the kind the buyer we always envisioned,” said Mark Toro, managing partner in Atlanta for NAP.

The first phase of the $600 million Avalon development includes 250 luxury apartments, 390,000 square feet of high-end retail and 105,000 square feet of office space. PGIM Real Estate also acquired a 3.3-acre tract slated for a future office tower.

A Whole Foods Market, Crate & Barrel, Anthropolgie, Antico Pizza, Coletta, Regal Cinemas and Tesla are among Avalon tenants.

Avalon’s second phase, which is under construction, will include another 276 apartments, additional retail, office space and a hotel and conference center. The retail and residences are expected to open in April with the hotel to follow in January 2018.

“Avalon is one of the premier mixed-use development projects in the United States,” Kevin R. Smith, head of Americas at PGIM Real Estate, said in a news release. “The acquisition provides our investors with a rare opportunity to acquire a trophy-quality mixed-use property in a strong demographic area… .”

The site at Old Milton Parkway and Ga. 400 was previously envisioned as Prospect Park, with high-rises and high-end retail. That project was scuttled by the Great Recession and sat abandoned for a few years until NAP and its partners entered the picture.

NAP dreamed up a new vision of a walkable mix of apartments, more than 100 single family homes and offices amid fine dining and high-touch retailers offering concierge services.

Avalon opened in the fall of 2014 and was an immediate hit. The retail and office space is 100 percent leased and apartments are 98 percent leased, the companies said.

Toro said the retail part of the second phase is 80 percent pre-leased.

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