Bluebonnet Parc bought for $21 million

A Cincinnati real estate investment fund has paid $21.3 million for Bluebonnet Parc Shopping Center, the retail development next to the Mall of Louisiana.

Viking Partners Fund II’s acquisition strategy involves buying and turning around shopping centers, especially in college towns, Manager Brett Caller said. Most of the fund’s properties are in the Midwest, but Viking’s more recent efforts have been in the Southeast.

The shopping center was owned by RPAI Baton Rouge LLC.

“We love the location. Fifteen million visitors a year go to the Mall of Louisiana,” Caller said.

Caller said that in 2014 Cost Plus World Market, a food and furnishings retailer, and Vanguard College of Cosmetology, a Paul Mitchell School, will leave Bluebonnet Parc.

Viking plans to re-lease those spaces and add 15,000 square feet by putting up a new building on the lot next to Vanguard College, Caller said. The addition will bring the center’s total space to about 150,000 square feet.

Viking is talking to a number of national companies about those spaces, but confidentiality agreements prevent Caller from naming them.

Bluebonnet Parc is Viking’s first property in Louisiana, said Caller, who attended Tulane University. The company has looked at deals in Metairie, Gretna, Covington, Lafayette and Shreveport, among others.

“This one checked a lot of boxes for us in our acquisition criteria,” Caller said.

Dottie Tarleton, a senior broker with Stirling Properties who specializes in retail properties, said Bluebonnet Parc isn’t a big shopping center, but retailers do very well there.

“The visibility is phenomenal,” Tarleton said.

The Mall of Louisiana/Bluebonnet Boulevard exit ramp has also made it easier for shoppers to reach Bluebonnet Parc, she said.