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Real estate entrepreneur Ben Mallah puts another big bet on retail

Margie Manning

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Seminole Oaks Shopping Center (Photo credit: Equity Management Partners and RMC Property Group)

Ben Mallah, principal and founder at Equity Management Partners in Largo, has made his second commercial real estate purchase this month.

Mallah bought Seminole Oaks Shopping Center for $11.7 million in a deal that closed Aug. 26. The purchase follows Mallah’s acquisition of the Marina at Johns Pass, a mixed-use waterfront property, for $17.2 million earlier in August.

Mallah is one of the Tampa-St. Pete area’s most active real estate investors, with a portfolio worth more than $200 million as of 2018, when he described his “value added” approach to acquisitions in an interview with the St. Pete Catalyst.

The Seminole Oaks Shopping Center, on the west side of Seminole Boulevard between 102nd and 104th Avenues, is anchored by Winn-Dixie. The grocery store was recently remodeled.

Although the retail industry has been reshaped by Amazon and other online shopping opportunities, with some brick and mortar stores shuttering as a result, the Seminole Oaks center is home to stores that provide many services that not available online, Mallah said.

Those stores include quick service restaurants Little Caesars and Subway, as well as a Chinese takeout restaurant; hair, nail and tanning salons; vision and hearing doctors; and Leslie’s Pool Supplies, one of the nation’s largest retailers of swimming pool care items.

“Retail is still doing well with shops that provide essential services,” Mallah said.

Equity Management Partners’ other local properties include the Clearwater Beach Hotel, Four Points by Sheraton in Tampa, Ramada Westshore in Tampa, Midway Shopping Center in Largo, Tampa Plaza Shopping Center in Tampa, and The Portland, a multi-family property in St. Petersburg.

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