GILBERT, AZ-Another California investment group has swapped commercial property in its homeport for a 61,377-sf, class A shopping center in the Phoenix metro, spending $11.2 million for a 20-tenant center with a 97% occupancy.

A private partnership from San Francisco bought Encore Plaza at 1515 N. Gilbert Rd. in Gilbert from Cornerstone Development of Laguna Niguel, CA. The buyer turned around proceeds from a multifamily holding in San Francisco, besting nine others in the chase for the retail center. “The highest offers were all from California,” Dennis Vaccaro, director of Faris Lee Investments in Irvine, CA, tells GlobeSt.com about a sale that brought 99% of the list price in less than 30 days on the market.

Encore Plaza is just the latest in a string of sales in the metro as Californians opt for greener grass on the other side of the line. “The highest priced payers are all coming from California,” Vaccaro says. The inducement is an 8% cap rate instead of 4%. Matt Horner of Re/Max Central Santa Rosa represented Encore Plaza’s buyer.

Cornerstone Development bought Encore Plaza, built in 1988, in the early 1990s and expanded it in 1995. The 6.1-acre asset’s sale included one of two out-parcels, a restaurant leased for the long term to the Philiberto’s chain. Vaccaro says a couple leases will roll each year on the 20-tenant roster. The average rent is $1.30 per sf, triple net. Case Huff & Associates of Phoenix will continue to manage the holding, according to Vaccaro. Hollywood Video and Countrywide Mortgage Co. anchor the plaza.

Encore Plaza is just one of several transactions in Vaccaro’s pipeline, all California investors looking for a piece of Arizona. In Nogales, the firm has interest mounting for the 200,000-sf Loma Linda Shopping Center, bought in two phases last year and repositioned for resale. The 97%-occupied, grocery-anchored center is on market for $18.2 million.

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