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LANCASTER, CA-An investment group from Los Altos has acquired a grocery-anchored center here for $20.2 million, and an exchange buyer from Encino has closed on a specialty strip center in Woodland Hills for $19.7 million in a deal that the brokers call “challenging.” The Los Altos-based buyer acquired the 126,260-sf Antelope Valley Plaza, and the Encino buyer bought the 70,721-sf Woodland Hills Village.

The buyer of the Antelope Valley property was AVP Lancaster LLC, according to Dixie Walker and Charley Simpson of the Newport Beach office of Grubb & Ellis. The property, which was 100% leased at the time of the sale, is at the southwest corner of 20th Street West and Avenue J. The asset was sold by Columbus Pacific Properties of Santa Monica.

The center was built in 1979 and is located at one of the most heavily trafficked intersections in Lancaster. Walker and Simpson represented the seller, with the buyer represented by Brian Fox of Guardian Equity Growth. Tenants include Vons, Sav-on Pharmacy and dd’s Discounts.

In the Woodland Hills sale, the buyer was Abrams & Associates. The property is a strip specialty center at 20929 Ventura Blvd., near the intersection of DeSoto Avenue and Ventura Boulevard. Richard Walter and Donald MacLellan of Irvine-based Faris Lee Investments represented the buyer as well as the seller, SCI Real Estate Investments of Los Angeles.

MacLellan notes that although the property entered escrow less than 30 days after being listed, the deal posed “serious challenges that might have derailed the transaction.” He explains that the property was “an unanchored, non-credit center that had environmental issues that had to be addressed and resolved with the buyer and lender.”

The buyer liked the property’s highly visible location on Ventura Boulevard near the 101 Freeway, as well as its diverse tenant mix, MacLellan says. In addition, the new owner sees upside because the center’s rental rates were 15% to 20% below market. Walter says that the transaction is a prime example of how the retail investment landscape is changing. “Deals are much more complex than ever before,” he says.

Built in 1971 and situated on 2.88 acres, Woodland Hills Village is 100% occupied by a tenant roster including Cables Restaurant, Community Commerce Bank, Plaza Sporting Goods, Jenny Craig, Pam’s Hallmark and others.

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