First National Realty Partners caps record year for retail leasing volume

First National Realty Partners said it achieved record retail leasing volume in 2022, propelled by two recent deals totaling approximately 152,500 square feet at Tropicana Centre in Las Vegas. For the calendar year, the Red Bank-based investment firm closed 105 new leases totaling nearly 538,000 square feet — a significant increase over 2021 and a reflection of notable portfolio growth as well as industry momentum.

“We saw a steady increase in transactions over the last three quarters,” Fred Battisti, managing director and head of leasing for FNRP, stated. At Tropicana Centre, FNRP secured a new 18,721-square-foot commitment from WSS and a 10-year extension with Sam’s Club for 133,768 square feet.

“Beyond their sizes, the Tropicana Centre transactions are significant because we negotiated them while in the process of acquiring the property,” Battisti noted, adding the sale closed in October. “The key to our vertically integrated business model is that we get in quickly and partner with anchors and other key tenants to make long-term deals. In this case, we were able to secure two very healthy credit tenants as we were finalizing the purchase. This jump-started our business plan and helped solidify the investment for our partners.”

Record-setting year for acquisitions and leasing

In 2022, FNRP increased its market share significantly. The firm ended the year with a projected $1.5 billion in assets under management nationwide — including over $800 million in 2022 acquisitions. Today, FNRP’s portfolio includes over 11.2 million square feet across 22 states.

FNRP’s rapid coast-to-coast expansion presented new opportunities — as well as challenges — for the leasing team.

“It was tough to execute deals in multiple markets simultaneously, but we proved our ability to close deals all over the country,” Battisti said.

New leases of note in the second half of 2022 also included:

  • American Freight (22,230 square feet) and Goodwill (17,115 square feet) at Hooksett Village in Hooksett, New Hampshire;
  • Shoe Station (23,532 square feet) and the Mercantile by Miller (16,650 square feet) at Brook Highland Plaza in Birmingham, Alabama;
  • Lowe’s Outlet (41,455 square feet) at Champions Village in Houston; and
  • Significant lease extensions, including Lowe’s (126,917 square feet) at Brook Highland Plaza, Planet Fitness (20,000 square feet) at Crossroads South and Heinen’s Grocery Store (41,822 square feet) at Shaker Towne Centre in Cleveland.

Battisti said FNRP has built its acquisition strategy on the necessity of grocery-anchored essential retail assets and belief in its ability to weather economic changes. The dramatic increase in leasing activity reflects the firm’s growth as well as the continued strength of its target market.

“We’re seeing more and more depth in the big box sector, and I am constantly impressed with the resiliency of popular name brands that have been around for years,” Battisti said. “For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Barnes & Noble each plan to open dozens of new stores, accounting for millions of square feet of GLA, in 2023. Household names — from Whole Foods and TJ Maxx to PetSmart and Ross — have really persevered through the pandemic.”

Battisti noted that the strength of necessity-based businesses is continuing across all categories — from apparel, home goods and quick-serve restaurants to nutrition and specialty fitness.