SAN FRANCISCO-Los Angeles-based buyer Ross Hilton Kemper has acquired the 12,000-sf Benetton building from a European fund for $15 million, the latest in a series of Union Square retail properties to command top dollar. Kemper acquired the property, which is at 39 Stockton St., through his private family trust.

The retail building is 100% occupied by United Colors of Benetton and is the Benetton flagship store in San Francisco. The property is situated directly across from the Barneys New York store that is scheduled to open this fall and is a neighbor to such other brand names as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Neiman Marcus and the Apple Store.

The acquisition follows a Kemper strategy designed to acquire a portfolio of luxury retail properties. Kemper says his goal is to “assemble one of the finest collections of high-end real estate in the very best retail areas of North America and Europe.”

Kemper recently bought more than 50,000 sf of retail space in Chicago’s landmark Palmolive Building. The location is along a section of the North Michigan Avenue shopping district known as the Magnificent Mile.

Retail properties in the Union Square area have been selling for some of the highest prices per sf in the country, attracting investors from throughout the US and internationally. Late last year, for example, Brooks Properties of Limerick, Ireland, bought two buildings in the Union Square area.

The Brooks acquisitions included the 24,400-sf 1 Grant Ave. building, a former bank headquarters that is now home to a Giorgio Armani retail store. The Irish buyer’s other acquisition was the 37,500-sf 216-220 Post St. building, which houses Saks Fifth Avenue for Men. Terms of the Grant Avenue deal were undisclosed, but the price for the Saks building was $42M, or $1,120 per sf.

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