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Shopping centers changing hands across Tri-Counties

By   /   Friday, October 23rd, 2015  /   Comments Off on Shopping centers changing hands across Tri-Counties

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The Woodlands Plaza in Simi Valley was sold for nearly $16 million, continuing a string of recent shopping center transactions and renovations in the Tri-Counties.

Local private real estate investors DP Grand Simi purchased the 61,373-square foot shopping center at 530 E. Los Angeles Ave. from another private investment group, B/C Sinaloa Plaza. The $15.9-million deal was about 93 percent of the list price, said Patrick Wade of Camarillo-based real estate investor CBRE Group.

“Right now there is a lot of demand for retail investment properties, especially ones anchored by grocers,” Wade told the Business Times. Wade represented the seller along with CBRE’s Alex Kozakov and Maxx Cohen. “There is not a lot of inventory on the market.”

The shopping center is anchored by a vacant Haggen store, which made it a more difficult sale, Wade said.

The Pacific Northwest-based grocer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September. It will close all of its stores in California, Nevada and Arizona after it struggled to gain traction in the tri-county market and beyond.

A Delaware bankruptcy court approved the sale of 36 of its 127 shuttering stores to Smart & Final and Gelson’s Markets, but that didn’t include the approximately 9,000-square-foot store at the Woodland Plaza.

Vons was in the space until Haggen agreed to scale up from 18 to 164 stores as part of an antitrust deal between Albertsons and Safeway and the Federal Trade Commission that would allow the companies’ $9.2 billion merger.

The investors were in the midst of negotiating a commercial mortgage-backed securities loan assumption when Haggen announced its bankruptcy and store closures, which delayed the process.

While other grocers have shown interest in the space, a replacement isn’t lined up, Wade said.

“Early on (Haggen) seemed like a new grocer that would do well with that concept but they weren’t operating as everyone had hoped,” he said.

Tenants include Yolanda’s Mexican Cafe, Goodwill, Fantastic Sam’s, H&R Block, Subway and others. It has 85 percent occupancy and the 6.7-acre center brings in about 38,000 vehicles per day, according to CBRE.

“Woodlands Plaza offers strong initial returns plus significant upside through lease up,” Kozakov said.

The Lemon Grove Plaza shopping center, anchored by Smart & Final Extra in Oxnard, was also recently sold for $8.1 million. The 99,876-square-foot center is on 9.7 acres at 2001 Oxnard Blvd.

Santa Barbara-based real estate firm Investec purchased the Village at Newbury Park earlier this year at 1015 Broadbeck Drive in Thousand Oaks. The asking price for the 23,000 plus-square-foot development was $14.5 million. Investec did not disclose the final sale price.

Additionally, the Oakbrook Shopping Center is moving forward with a multimillion dollar revitalization of the 34-year-old grocery-anchored center, located on the corner of Erbes Road and Avenida de los Arboles in Thousand Oaks.

“I think we’re seeing a lot of private investors, foreign and local, looking at alternatives to bonds or the stock market,” Wade said. “They are looking at real estate as being a more stable investment. I think the trend will continue.”

School unveils building

Crane Country Day School debuted its $4 million addition to its 88-year-old Montecito campus.

The 6,109-square-foot building project featured a new 2,000-square-foot engineering center for its sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students. It is partnering with the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy to create new engineering, design and robotics curricula.

The project also features two 710-square-foot English classrooms, two math classrooms of the same size, a 170-seat amphitheater, three new administrative offices, two bathrooms, a garden and 3,537 square feet of functional outdoor deck space.

The school raised about $10 million from more than 170 parent donations, Headmaster Joel Weiss said.

“Most schools can’t undertake projects like this,” said Weiss, adding that they started planning the project about six years ago. “We had to plan ahead and jump through all the necessary permitting hoops. We had to be forward-thinking and fundraise all the money before we started.”

San Francisco-based MK Think and Santa Barbara-based Blackbird Architects designed the project.

• Contact Alex Kacik at [email protected]  

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