SAN DIEGO-Rolando Plaza, a 72,427-sf grocery-anchored retail center, was sold to a 1031 Exchange for $14 million. The sale brought about a few occupancy issues, however, which emerged during escrow when 27%, or five of the center’s tenants, including its anchor, announced they would be vacating the property.

Despite being situated on 6.16 acres in a high-traffic, high-visibility area near the 15 Freeway, Interstate 8 and San Diego State University, this locale, which was being marketed as a value-added opportunity, hasn’t seen many nationally known tenants in recent years. This is in opposition to most of San Diego County, which has been a hotbed for national retailers. The county’s current retail vacancy rate is 2.4%, with average asking rates around $2.63 a sf and expected to rise, according to Burnham Real Estate’s 2007 Outlook.

Many, including Faris Lee’s Nicholas Coo, who, along with Richard Walter, represented Los Angeles-based seller SCI Real Estate Investments LLC, attribute Rolando’s occupancy difficulties with the perception potential retailers have of a second-tier retail trade area such as this one. Faris Lee’s Dennis Vaccaro represented exchange buyer Orange County-based 1401 Camino Investors LP.

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