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HOUSTON-Following a $10-million renovation and repositioning, the Los Angeles-based Somera Capital Management, in partnership with CoastWood Capital Group LLC of San Francisco, has sold 500,000 sf of the 1.1-million-sf West Oaks Mall to Investment Properties of America.

The 1980s-constructed property, situated on 33 acres at Highway 6 and Westheimer Road, is assessed at $46.03 million by Harris County. The sale price could not be obtained by press time.

The sellers, represented by New York City-based Eastdil Realty Inc., purchased the mall at 14700 Westheimer Rd. in 2003 and set about working to boost both traffic and tenancy. The mall was roughly 70% occupied when it was bought and was resting at 90% when it was handed off to the Indianapolis-based investment group.

“It was a very tired property and had been slowly losing market share,” says Steve Plenge, Somera’s executive vice president. “It was a neglected asset. So we came in, had a strategic vision of how to reposition it and did so.”

The purpose of the repositioning was to develop a mall that wasn’t the “same old, same old in Houston,” Plenge says. “We wanted something a little more comfortable, a little more homey.” Callison Architecture Inc., based in Seattle and VCC, a general contractor from Dallas, did the full-body makeover, which included new floors, ceilings, lighting and an overall newer, more comfortable decor.

Plenge tells GlobeSt.com that another path to higher occupancy and pedestrian traffic was retailer cooperation helped, in part, through leasing handled by Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. “Many of them (the tenants) were willing to do short-term renewals,” he says. The roster includes Sears, Linens ‘n Things and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Aeropostale, Applebee’s and Steve & Barry’s University Sportswear. Anchors May Co., Dillards and Foleys own their locations, totaling 576,075 sf.

West Oaks Mall was the California partnership’s first and, to date, only retail holding in the Houston area. Plenge says if the opportunity presents itself that they will buy and renovate again. “It was fun and a challenge to do this,” he adds. “We thought we did something out of the ordinary with this particular property.”

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