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[IMGCAP(1)]SANTA ANA, CA-The 23,536-square-foot Harbor Square retail center here has traded for more than $7.42 million in a deal that closed despite some unusually tough financing challenges, even for today’s market, according to NAI Capital. The sale is one of three recent transactions here and in the Inland Empire that were negotiated by brokers based in Orange County.

In the Harbor Square sale, Tom Nguyen of the Newport Beach office/Pacific Rim Division of NAI Capital reports that buyer Tung Thanh Dinh bought the property, which is at 100-120 S. Harbor Blvd., from Lin Estate Inc. Nguyen, who represented the seller, helped arrange financing for the acquisition and notes the difficulty in closing the transaction due to the low sub-5% cap rate and the ongoing credit crisis. “In this marketplace, a deal like this is almost impossible to close if it were not for a particularly strong borrower and our relationships with lenders who understand the submarket and the potential upside in the property,” he says.

[IMGCAP(2)]The property is situated on 1.89 acres of land at 100-120 S. Harbor Blvd., at the corner of First Street and Harbor Boulevard. The acquisition included a 20,764-square-foot L-shaped shopping center and a 2,772-square-foot restaurant with a drive-through on the corner. Nguyen says the buyer, who seeks to renovate the center, has the potential for upside thanks to the property’s below-market rents.The other two deals closed by Orange County-based brokers included an industrial lease and an office lease. In the first, Colliers International reports that Aspen Distribution signed a $3.5 million lease for a 102,878 square-foot industrial building at 5505 Concours in Ontario. The building is the Crossroads Business Park, a big-box industrial park that also houses distribution facilities for tenants such as New Balance shoes, Oakley, Long’s Drugs and Carl’s Jr.

[IMGCAP(3)]The industrial property features 65,572 square feet of 45-degree refrigerated space, with the remaining 34,204 square feet being dry storage space. Aspen Distribution is a third-party logistics company that does contract warehousing for the medical, grocery, industrial, retail and paper industries.

Lease rates in the Inland Empire are very competitive, encouraging tenants both in the area and in surrounding areas to re-examine their real estate options and consider the Inland Empire as a viable place to relocate their businesses, observes Clyde Stauff, senior vice president at Colliers International’s Irvine office, who represented the landlord. Along with Stauff, Michael McCrary, senior vice president in Colliers’ Ontario office, represented the landlord, the Caldwell Co. The tenant was represented by Don Kazanjian of Lee & Associates.

In the remaining deal, Greg Bendis and Dillon Dummit of the Irvine office of GVA Charles Dunn report that Scientific Image Center Management Inc. signed a 10-year lease for 6,590 square feet of office space at 4550 Ontario Mills Parkway in Ontario. The full-floor lease was valued at $2.37 million.

Bendis and Dummitt represented the tenant, Scientific Image Center Management Inc., a Michigan-based company affiliated with the cosmetic surgery industry. The landlord, the Bates Co., was represented by Jeff Burdick of Lee & Associates.

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