CBRE Group Inc. has just closed what it says is one of the most expensive trades of an open-air retail center in the U.S. this year.

What’s more, the center in question happens to be outside the primary markets.

An institutional pension fund advisor acquired The Pinnacle at Turkey Creek, a 659,208-sq.-ft. open-air lifestyle/power center in Knoxville, Tenn., from the joint venture of Colonial Properties Trust and Turkey Creek Land Partners LLC for $131.7 million.

According to market sources, the center traded at a cap rate somewhere between low and mid 7 percent.

Colonial Properties Trust and Turkey Creek Land Partners both held a 50 percent stake in the asset.

In spite of being located outside the gateway cities, the preferred destination for institutional real estate investors at the moment, The Pinnacle at Turkey Creek received offers from more than 10 bidders during the 60 days it was out on the market, according to Chris Decoufle, a broker with CBRE’s national retail investment group, who along with Paul Gaither represented the seller in the transaction. The center reportedly has tenant sales productivity that’s comparable to class-A centers in primary markets.

According to the ICSC Directory of Major Malls, there are approximately 236,132 people living within 10 miles of the property, with the average household income of $80,562 per year.

"This represented the ability for an institutional investor to get above average returns from a pure class-A asset that was not in a first-tier market," Decoufle says. "It’s a better yield and overall return. We are seeing [more interest in deals like that] in the marketplace now."

The Pinnacle at Turkey Creek is currently 92.5 percent occupied. Regal Cinemas, Belk, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Marshalls, hhgregg and Cost Plus World Market anchor the property. There is also a vacant 22,000-sq.-ft. Borders on the site that offers the new owners a remerchandising opportunity, according to Decoufle.

Colonial Properties’ 50 percent interest was sold for total consideration of $65.9 million, comprised of $27.2 million in cash and the assumption and/or repayment of the company’s $38.7 million share of the existing loans secured by the property. Colonial plans to use its proceeds from the sale to repay a portion of the outstanding balance on its unsecured line of credit, with the rest going toward acquisition of multifamily communities.

“The disposition of our joint venture interests in these retail assets is another step in the execution of our strategy to simplify the business and sell our non-core assets,” Colonial Properties Chairman and CEO Thomas H. Lowder said in a statement.