By Illyshia Parker – Commercial Real Estate Reporter, Birmingham Business Journal

A 41-acre Birmingham shopping plaza shadow-anchored by a home improvement outlet has gained a new owner in recent weeks.

Baltimore-based CityWide Properties acquired Crestwood Festival Centre for $9,386,943. According to real estate data firm Reonomy, Timber Star Alabama Crestwood LP sold the asset on Aug. 8.

Crestwood Festival Centre, located at 7001 Crestwood Blvd. includes 44 retail suites and 980 parking spaces.

CityWide Properties, a real estate investment and management company, was founded by Steve Verstandig who said it plans to invest $1.5 million in capital improvements at Crestwood Festival Centre within the next year-and-a-half. The company will enhance the property’s facade and parking lot, and other aesthetic improvements are on the agenda.

The new owner is also eyeing recruiting a local grocery store chain for 20,000 square feet of space.

When CityWide Properties assumed ownership of the site last month, the property had 15 vacancies. Verstandig said three of those spaces were filled within 30 days of taking possession of the property.

CityWide Properties presently owns more than 75 properties in seven states. The company manages and leases 2.1 million square feet of retail space and specializes in value-add assets that have been impacted by vacancies or mismanagement.

“CityWide Properties is proud of our record of success in renovating and leasing historic, mixed-use and commercial properties,” Verstandig said. “Over the years, we’ve forged a productive partnership with Eastern Union that has consistently secured the financing required to make our business formula work.”

Marc Tropp, a senior managing director with Eastern Union, arranged $7,040,207 in financing for CityWide Properties toward its acquisition of the 299,707-square-foot shopping center. It includes five-year mortgage with an interest rate fixed at 4.6 %. The financing allows for one year of interest-only payments.