Existing tenants at the shopping center, located at the corner of Leitersburg Pike and Northern Avenue, would be allowed to stay, Grossman said.
The shopping center includes the Sears building, Long Meadow Cinemas, Oliver's Pub & Restaurant, CVS pharmacy, "TCBY" Yogurt, Power Shack, Hagerstown Trust, Kick's Music Vision, Routzahn's and Casablanca Hair Design.
"If they follow through on their plans to modernize and upgrade, obviously that's great," said Don Olson, owner of Oliver's.
City officials are pleased about the property transfer and are looking forward to helping the group upgrade the center, said Deborah Everhart, the city's economic development coordinator.
The group of investors, with 20 million square feet of shopping space, is one of the largest real estate development companies in the country, Grossman said.
The shopping center's market value is $8 million, according to court records.
Washington County will receive $21,660 from the tax for recording the $3 million property transfer, and the state of Maryland will get $1,140 from the tax, according to Rick Hemphill, the court's deputy clerk.
The state's Program Open Space will receive $15,000 from the transfer tax on the sale, Hemphill said.
The shopping center was owned by 9911 Properties, a California Limited Partnership, until Eastern Savings Bank of Hunt Valley, Md., foreclosed on the property in May 1995, said William J. Monacelli, Eastern Savings vice president.