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Former Affinity Group HQ in Ventura sold

By   /   Monday, February 4th, 2013  /   Comments Off on Former Affinity Group HQ in Ventura sold

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The former headquarters of Affinity Group, once one of the largest private companies in the region, has been sold.

Camarillo-based Somis Investments purchased the 73,000-square-foot office campus in Ventura in an all-cash deal for an undisclosed amount, according to commercial real estate brokers who negotiated the transaction. Affinity listed the 9.3-acre property on Vista Del Mar Avenue for $9.7 million in mid-2011, after shuttering operations following multimillion-dollar losses.

Affinity at one time had more than 1,600 employees worldwide and more than 200 in Ventura County, according to Business Times records. The company oversaw a line of recreational vehicle clubs, a chain of camping-related retail stores and a stable of niche publications focused on boats, trailers and motorcycles. The company faced as much as $700 million in looming debt payments and struggled to refinance as bond markets froze in 2008 and 2009, according to Business Times reporting.

In 2009, the latest year for which figures were available, Affinity Group lost $52.8 million on $471.8 million in revenue. The losses were narrower than 2008, when the firm lost $125.3 million on $526.1 million in revenue.

In 2009, Affinity Bank, a related company also controlled by former Affinity owner and Montecito resident Stephen Adams, was taken over and shut down by federal banking regulators.

The Vista Del Mar Avenue  building was constructed in in 1983 for Ventura Coastal, then became the headquarters of Bank of A. Levy, and most recently, Affinity.

Nick Gregg of CB Commercial Realty in Camarillo represented the seller, and Alex Olsen of Becker and Associates in Ventura represented Somis Investments in the property deal. Gregg noted that the property has views of the ocean, the Ventura Harbor and the nearby hills, and is one of the few Class-A office buildings in Ventura County. The site also has expansion potential to more than double the size of the existing building improvements or to add another use, he said.

Somis, the new owner of the property, was founded in 2011 and has since acquired land for more than 1,000 residential units in California and about 100,000 square feet of existing office buildings, according to the news release.

Somis Manager Eric Taylor said the property will be converted to a multi-tenant office park. “Ventura has many Class B tenants that may want to take advantage of this market to move up to Class A space, and we’d like to be in position to capture that market,” he said in the release.

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