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NOVATO, CA-Rowland Plaza, a 168,000-square-foot office and retail development here has changed hands for approximately $20 million. The new owner is a JV of Los Angeles-based real estate developer Barker Pacific Group and Rockwood Capital LLC, a real estate private equity firm. The seller was Multi-Employer Property Trust, an Alexandria, VA-based union benefit fund (aka Taft-Hartley Fund) whose investments are managed by Seattle-based Kennedy Associates Real Estate Counsel.

Built in the mid-1990s and located adjacent to Vintage Oaks Shopping Center, Rowland Plaza is comprised of three buildings–two steel-frame low-rise office buildings, one 80,159 square feet and the other 63,793 square feet, and a 24,120-square-foot retail building. The office space is 72% leased and the retail is 100% leased. Overall office market vacancy is in the low 20% range.

The retail is leased solely to Staples Inc. Major office tenants include the City of Novato, 21,340 square feet; Braden Partners LP, dba Pacific Pulmonary Services, 21,850 square feet; Prieston Group, fraud insurance, 14,000 square feet; Marin County, 13,325 square feet; and Rosenthal & Co., class-action settlement administration, 13,000 square feet.

Barker Pacific managing director Michael Barker describes the existing tenancy as “stable” and describes the overall investment as a “very attractive value play” that will create greater economies of scale for a Marin County property portfolio that also includes Hamilton Landing, which is 100% leased. His goal is to lease up the available space at Rowland Plaza over the next two years while retaining the existing tenants. The current quotes for office space in the project are $2.25 per square foot per month, fully serviced. The near-term capex plan includes building out some speculative office suites.

The property was unencumbered prior to the sale, which Barker says represents one of very few non-distressed property sales in California this year financed with a typical debt-to-equity loan. The JV financed 60% of the acquisition price with Wells Fargo. MEPT has sold several assets this year, according to information on its website. An MEPT representative could not immediately be reached Friday for comment on the disposition.

George Eckard and Grant Lammersen of Cushman Wakefield’s San Francisco office represented the seller. Haden Ongaro and Brian Eisberg of Orion Partners in San Rafael represented BPG and will coordinate leasing the project’s available space.

In addition to its Marin County properties Barker Pacific owns 626 Wilshire in Los Angeles. Its previous development projects include 100 First Plaza in San Francisco and, in Los Angeles, the Fine Arts Building (811 W. 7th St.), and 5055 Wilshire Blvd. It also developed the Miami Arena and Columbus Center in South Florida.

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