Carolle Van Sande, the former manager of three of the largest shopping centers on the South Coast, has put out her own shingle.
It’ll be the first time since her college years — when Van Sande started, operated and eventually sold a small restaurant along Highway 101 in Encinitas — that she’s owned her own business. (If you’re in the area, St. Germaine’s Café & Bistro is still in business today.)
Decades later, Van Sande is now putting the finishing touches on offices for Bristol Property Management, a company that will manage commercial properties for owners in the Santa Barbara area. She says her 26 years of experience in the business will be her main selling point as she recruits clients.
Van Sande is one of the most familiar names in the tri-county commercial real estate market. Many brokers and business owners know her as the former manager of La Cumbre Plaza in Santa Barbara, Pacific View Mall in Ventura and Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta.
Van Sande said she got her first taste of the real estate insider’s maxim — “location, location, location” — when she opened the restaurant in Encintas. “It was the great location that made it work,” she said. “That, and having the only espresso maker around.”
Before starting her corporate career with San Diego-based The Hahn Co., then owners of La Cumbre Plaza, Van Sande helped her mother expand a chain of independent gift card stores from one location to 14. That was during the ’70s, in what she calls “the world of the shopping mall,” when millions of square feet of shopping space were being paved across the country.
Van Sande managed La Cumbre for more than 10 years, starting in 1986.
She later went on to manage Camino Real for Wynmark for two years. For seven years, she was the vice president of corporate real estate services for Pacific Capital Bancorp, parent company of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, where she managed about 140 corporate properties.
In 2008, she again took the reins at La Cumbre, this time owned by Santa Monica-based Macerich Co., and Pacific View. Between the two properties, she managed approximately 200 tenants and 1.7 million square feet of retail space. That position only lasted a year, however. As she explains it, the real estate meltdown forced Macerich to consolidate positions, more senior managers were pushed down into the ranks to manage the malls, and she was let go.
“It was a really tough reality to have to deal with,” she said.
Van Sande took some time off to spend with her daughters and started to think about how she could use her experiences and skill-set to work for herself.
“I think it’s an exciting time to be starting a company,” she said.
Bristol Property Management is now putting the finishing touches on its new offices at 2920 De La Vina St. in Santa Barbara, a building that will be shared with her husband’s engineering firm, Van Sande Structural Consultants. The two purchased the building with a Small Business Administration-backed loan.
“2012 looks to be a good year to start something new,” Van Sande said. “Property owners have remodeled and recapitalized. At the same time, rents are going down and owners are being squeezed. They have to cut costs.”
DEAL OF THE WEEK
• A retail project in Anderson, S.C., co-developed by Santa Barbara-based real estate investor and broker Len Jarrott has been sold. The sale of the Midtown Park shopping center closed in mid-December, Jarrott reports, and the $25.6 million sale price represented “a nice profit” for the investors. The center includes a Kohl’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Staples and an Ulta Cosmetics store.
• Contact Marlize van Romburgh at [email protected]