Lebanon — Dartmouth College next month is expected to sell the Centerra Marketplace to a real estate and investment firm in suburban Boston whose representatives say they plan to keep things as they are.
The 10.7-acre property — home of the Lebanon Co-op Food Store, Systems Plus and a New Hampshire Liquor and Wine Outlet — also includes the freestanding Margarita’s Restaurant and a nearby unoccupied bank building, as well as a row of trees fronting Route 120. The new owners, who expect to close the deal in December after about six months’ negotiations, say they have no immediate plans to change rents or tenants.
“We’re going to operate the shopping center as is,” said Jonathan Hueber, director of acquisitions and leasing at Crosspoint Associates in Waltham, Mass. “It’s operated very well for Dartmouth for at least two decades, and we foresee continuing to operate the same way for the foreseeable future.”
The city of Lebanon has assessed the property at about $9.3 million, but neither Hueber nor a college spokeswoman would disclose the sale price before closing.
“Dartmouth is selling the property because it has accomplished its goal of developing a shopping area for the community,” the spokeswoman, Diana Lawrence, said in an emailed statement.
The Co-op opened its Lebanon store in 1997 as Dartmouth developed the Centerra business park after Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital moved from Hanover to the Route 120 corridor in Lebanon.
Hueber said that his firm manages properties with a similar profile to Centerra, including shopping areas anchored around upscale grocery stores in Stowe, Vt., and New London.
“It kind of fits our investment criteria to a T,” Hueber said. “We look for well-located community shopping centers in upper-scale demographic centers in New England.”
The largest tenant in the Centerra Marketplace is the Co-op, whose spokesman, Allan Reetz, said last week that nothing should change.
“We don’t expect impact on our store operations,” Reetz said in an email.
Other businesses on Centerra Parkway, such as the River Valley Club, are not located on the land that is changing hands. Joe Asch, owner of the fitness club, said in an email last week that what Crosspoint decides to do with the trees near Route 120 could have an aesthetic affect on the area where he does business.
Hueber, however, said he had no plans to develop that parcel at this time.
Shoppers such as Rachel Stoddard, who says she buys her groceries at the Co-op because she regards it as a healthy, ethical alternative, may be relieved to hear that little will change for now, despite the purchase.
“The more I come here, the more reasons I find to like it,” Stoddard said on her way into the Co-op on Monday afternoon.
She comes to the food store less for the convenience — she lives in Plainfield — than for “the idea behind it,” she said.
“I like to support the local farmers making a go of it,” Stoddard said.
Once the deal goes through, Hueber said, the new landlords are here to stay. “We look forward to being a good neighbor and being a part of the Hanover and Lebanon community for the foreseeable future, as we’re long-term holders of real estate,” he said.Rob Wolfe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 603-727-3242.