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CHULA VISTA, CA-Sudberry Properties has refinanced its 156,552-sf Village Walk at EastLake community center with a $55-million loan from GE Real Estate. The San Diego-based development firm, which constructed the open-air community center in 2006 and 2007, now has a three-year, fixed-rate loan in its first transaction with GE Real Estate.

According to Colton Sudberry, senior vice president of Sudberry Properties, the new financing “resolved some tenant liquidity issues” and also provides Sudberry with longer-term financing “that will enable us to realize better returns when the financial markets stabilize.” Sudberry notes that the deal went through, “despite all the negative news in retail and the credit crunch.”

The open-air center is 92% occupied, with a tenant roster including Henry’s Marketplace, Borders Bookstore, Petco, Pier 1 Imports and Trader Joes.

The deal between GE and Sudberry, which owns and manages nearly two-million sf of income-producing retail properties in the San Diego area, was brokered by Capmark Finance Inc.

Located approximately 18 miles southeast of downtown San Diego at EastLake Parkway and Miller Drive, the EastLake community of Chula Vista has grown quickly over the past decade. The Village Walk center also is adjacent to Eastlake Village Marketplace, a 420,000-sf retail power center developed, owned, and managed by Sudberry Properties and anchored by Target and Lowe’s.

“Lenders are tightening up on retail in general, but GE Real Estate recognized the high value of a quality asset in a submarket that is particularly strong,” observes Michael Dobbins, vice president of the San Diego office of Capmark Finance.

The average household income within three miles of Village Walk is more than $100,000, notes Brandon Loveridge, director at GE Real Estate. “The property also is one of the few centers in the country to have two great grocers, which also was attractive for us.

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