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[IMGCAP(1)]SANTA ANA, CA-Investors have closed on five sales of small retail properties here and in four other locations as small deals continue to flow despite the general lack of large closings in light of the credit crunch. In the latest round, Hanley Investment Group reports the sale of a multi-tenant retail strip center in Santa Ana for $532 per square foot and Faris Lee Investments notes the sales of four properties totaling $8.2 million.

In the Hanley deal, Carlos J. Lopez of Hanley reports that buyer Oh Family Trust of Chino Hills fulfilled a 1031 exchange requirement with the nearly $4.33 million purchase of the 8,116-square-foot Home Place center at 1935 E. 17th St. in Santa Ana. Lopez, who represented seller HPSC II LLC, an entity of Santa Ana-based Red Mountain Retail Group, says that the property’s solid Orange County location and its complementary tenant mix were significant factors in the selling of the center. “Buyers are returning to basic fundamentals” when evaluating properties, Lopez adds.

The freestanding four-tenant building, which was 100% occupied at the time of the sale,is an out parcel to an Orchard Supply Hardware-anchored shopping center. The four tenants are Union Bank, Cantaloop Yogurt, Ritz Nails and Dorazio Learning Center. In addition to OSH, the main center features a Carl’s Jr. drive-through and a soon-to-be-completed multi-purpose building that will feature a ground-floor food court that includes Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipotle, L&L Hawaiian Barbeque and California Shabu Shabu.

[IMGCAP(2)]Lopez says that despite reports that no financing is available, Hanley helped the buyer to obtain a loan at very favorable terms, including a loan-to-value ratio of more than 60%. The buyer was represented by James Kwon at Coldwell Banker Best Realty in Fullerton.

The other four sales, all closed by Faris Lee, totaled more than $8.2 million at Iris Plaza, a new 79,252-square-foot center in Moreno Valley that is anchored by a supermarket and a drug store. The sales included a 1.55-acre land sale ground-leased to for a 14,739-square-foot Walgreens; a newly constructed, 2,304-square-foot building occupied by Del Taco; a 36,590-square-foot land sale ground-leased to a 2,676-square-foot Carl’s Jr; and a 32,234-square-foot land sale ground-leased to a 2,995-square-foot KFC.<p.In addition to the four tenants above, other tenants in the center include Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market/Tesco, Autozone and Fitness 19. Completed in 2008, Iris Plaza is the area's most dominant retail center and is located on a highly visible, busy intersection at the southeast corner of Perris Boulevard and Iris Avenue.

The center is close to March Air Force Reserve Base and is across the street from Home Depot. Jeff Conover, senior managing director, and Rich Walter, president, of Faris Lee Investments represented the seller for the four properties, Ontario-based Iris Partners LLC and Maple Leaf Group LLC.

The Walgreens, Del Taco, Carl’s Jr. and KFC are all on 20-year, absolute triple-net leases. The 1031 exchange buyer of the Walgreens, Pilot Hill, CA-based Schlosser Properties Co. Inc., paid all cash at more than $2.9 million and a 6% cap rate. for the property and was represented by Colliers International.

The 1031 exchange buyer of the Del Taco was Westminster, CA-based Property Exchange Services. The buyer paid $2.17 million at a cap rate of 5.75% and was represented by Prudential.

The buyer of the Carl’s Jr. was a private investor from National City, CA, who paid all cash at more than $1.56 million for the property at a 5.75% cap and was represented by McMillan Realty. The buyer of the KFC was a private investor from Rancho Cordova, CA who paid all cash at more than $1million for the property at a 6.22% cap and was represented by KJ Real Estate.

Conover notes that Faris Lee marketed the properties to with a focus on 1031 exchange buyers and active investors in the Southern California region. “Buyers are still prepared to pay lower cap rates for stable and secure retail investments in the Inland Empire that generate consistent cash flow,” he says. Faris Lee’s break-up sales strategy targeted smaller-deal buyer pools, with each property generating at least eight offers and selling at aggressive cap rates for today’s market, Conover adds.

Faris Lee Capital, an in-house team of financing specialists, arranged and managed the financing process on the Del Taco sale through its lending relationship with an Orange County-based local bank. Walter says that being able to manage the financing process to get deals done in today’s market is crucial.

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