The developer of the Crossroads Center shopping center in Santa Maria is suing tenant Best Buy in a dispute over the mall’s potential expansion plans.
In a suit filed last month in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, developer Santa Maria Associates 101 is suing Best Buy Stores and asking a court to affirm its rights to develop new pads in the center, which is located at Highway 101 and East Betteravia Road.
According to the complaint, Santa Maria Associates entered into a development agreement with Wal-Mart and Home Depot in 1997. Under that agreement, which was later amended, the shopping center was divided into three separate tracts, Santa Maria Associates said, with Wal-Mart and Home Depot owning their respective tracts and the mall developer owning the tract where the Best Buy store is located.
In its complaint, Santa Maria Associates says that agreement gives it the right to further subdivide the Best Buy-occupied tract, as long as it has the consent of Wal-Mart and Home Depot. As a tenant, Best Buy was not a signing party to the development agreement, the complaint says.
However, the dispute arises from the electronics retailer’s reported assertion that its lease agreement includes some say in the development of the neighboring parcels. “Best Buy opposes the construction on the proposed outparcels and contends it can prohibit SM101 from construction on outparcel E-1 as being within Best Buy’s so-called ‘control area,’ ” the developer’s lawsuit says, citing letters it says it received from Best Buy in November and December 2013.
Best Buy did not respond to a request for comment made through its media relations department. An attorney for Santa Maria Associates did not respond to a request for further comment on the case.
The complaint for declaratory relief asks a judge to affirm Santa Maria Associates’ rights to develop the outparcels without Best Buy’s consent. It is also asking for attorney’s fees related to the dispute should it prevail in court.
Twenty new homes in Thousand Oaks
Fresh off of a Jan. 31 IPO, The New Home Co. is building its first luxury home community in Ventura County.
The firm recently started construction on a 25-acre gated community in Thousand Oaks that will include 20 single-family homes.
The Twenty Oaks project, located at Mayflower Street and Warwick Avenue, sits on a hilltop overlooking the Conejo Valley with views of the Santa Monica Mountains, the developers said. The project represents a rare opportunity to buy a new home in Ventura County’s severely supply-constrained market, it said.
The Twenty Oaks homes will range from about 2,900 square feet to more than 4,000 square feet on homesites averaging 14,000 square feet. The homes, with three to four bedrooms and up to 4.5 baths, will likely be priced starting in the $900,000s, the developer said.
“We feel extremely fortunate to have acquired such a special piece of land in Thousand Oaks, a town consistently rated as one of the best places to live in the United States,” New Home Vice President and Regional Manager Rick Bianchi said in a statement. “The New Home Co. is proud to be a part of this community and all that it offers with award-winning schools, attractively contemporary shopping and entertainment centers, and a number of recreational opportunities, from excellent golf to miles of hiking and biking trails.”
A grand opening for Twenty Oaks is slated for fall 2014.
DEAL OF THE WEEK
• South Coast apartment deals reached a six-year high in 2013, closing the year with 22 sales of properties of more than five units in size, Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments noted in its fourth-quarter report. Seven of those deals came in the fourth quarter.
Among the most notable and previously unreported deals of the year was the sale of The Loop in Isla Vista. The ultra-green, luxury mixed-use complex includes 48 apartments and ground-floor retail space. It was the first major project by Santa Barbara-based development firm Mesa Lane Partners. The property sold for $29.3 million to a Chicago-based investment group, Radius said.
“The trend of low vacancies and increased rents along the South Coast is due to stabilizing employment and other demographics that point to population growth,” Radius said. “There is some new inventory coming on line soon, such as the 100-unit Willow Springs expansion in Goleta now leasing, which should be easily absorbed. The rise in home prices and interest rates should serve to keep apartment vacancy levels low in the near term.”
• Contact Marlize van Romburgh at [email protected]