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LAKE FOREST, CA-The 122,540-square-foot Shops at Lake Forest, a 95% leased neighborhood center, has sold to a locally based buyer, according to Parker & Associates Inc. According to Dan Parker, president of Laguna Hills-based Parker & Associates, the property was not placed on the open market, but rather, was exposed to a select number of investors at the request of the seller.

Parker represented the seller, DRB Shops LLC. He notes that, unlike other centers that Parker & Associates Inc. has sold in the local market, such as the Marguerite Shopping Center that sold for $12.5 million at a 6% cap rate, this center faced a long-term ground lease.

The buyer of the center was George Holdings Lake Forest LLC, which was represented by Terry Parker of Parker Commercial Brokerage Co., a Lake Forest-based firm. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Shops at Lake Forest is located at 23812-24422 Rockfield Blvd. in the City of Lake Forest, just off the El Toro Road exit of the 5 Freeway, which falls in the City of Lake Forest’s Redevelopment Project Area of 856 acres. The center is anchored by Ross, CVS pharmacy and Petco. Before selling the center, Parker & Associates, Inc. handled the marketing and leasing of the property, where the tenant mix is now stronger and rents have increased.

Parker says that the Shops at Lake Forest transaction demonstrates that buyers “have returned to basic fundamentals when evaluating acquisitions.” He says that in the case of the Shops at Lake Forest, the property offered buyers an excellent Orange County location and strong tenant mix. The center “brought healthy interest from seasoned investors,” he adds. Parker says that the deal illustrates that even though the commercial real estate market faces a challenging environment, deals can still be closed.

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