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CALABASAS, CA-A 70,000-square-foot retail center called the Summit at Calabasas is under way on a 7.2-acre site here and is due to debut in the first quarter of 2010 as the first commercial project developed under this city’s five-year-old green building ordinance. Principal and co-founder Bob Haas of Cypress Retail Group, which is the leasing agent for the Summit project, tells GlobeSt.com that the center will be anchored by a 14,000-square-foot Pacific Coast Greens market, a specialty health foods market that is based in Malibu.

Preleasing has reached about 40% at the project, which will open its first stores toward the end of the first quarter of 2010, with the Pacific Coast Greens market opening a bit later. Other tenants that have signed include Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewing Co. and upscale Mexican restaurant Señor Fred’s. Haas says that Cypress, which is a member of the X Team International alliance of retail real estate advisers, is working on other deals that are expected to boost the level of leasing before the project is completed.

Haas tells GlobeSt.com that the Summit at Calabasas is unique in a number of respects and also reflects trends that are shaping the retail landscape right now.

According to the City of Calabasas web site, the Summit center is the first LEED Silver commercial project to be developed in the city since Calabasas adopted a green building ordinance in 2004 that requires all new commercial development to achieve the equivalent of a LEED Certified or Silver designation. The Summit, which is being developed by Redwood City, CA-based Dollinger Properties, will not formally apply for the Silver LEED designation, but the project is being built to Silver LEED specifications, Haas says.

Haas says that another unique aspect of the new retail center is that it is being developed on one of the last and best development sites along the 101 Freeway between the San Fernando Valley and the Conejo Valley, in “a very affluent area with average annual household incomes in the $150,000 range.” He points out that the development site was a hotly contested property when it sold three years ago, generating 27 offers. The site is at the southeast corner of Lost Hills Road and the 101 Freeway, with freeway access from Lost Hills and Las Virgenes roads.

In addition, the new center is being built in an area where entitlements are difficult to obtain. “It took us two and a half years to get the approvals,” Haas says. “This is in an area where new development doesn’t happen every day, even in a strong economy.”

The Summit also will feature “a unique mix of local and regional tenants,” in part because of changes in the economy that have occurred since the development was first envisioned, Haas points out. He explains that Cypress Retail Group had a Circuit City concept signed as a 20,000-square-foot anchor for the center before Circuit City went bankrupt and liquidated its retail stores. It was then that Cypress signed Pacific Coast Greens as the anchor.

The Summit site is “strong enough to warrant the interest of national chain tenants,” Haas says, but with major national retail and restaurant chains pulling back in their expansions, local and regional tenants are playing a larger role in retail leasing. The Summit project “is a good example of how local, regional entrepreneurial tenants that are interested in expanding to their second or third locations” are driving the retail leasing market these days, he says.

Cypress Retail Group was formed in June 1995 by Haas, Scott Manclark, Bob Walsh and Dave Binney, all former retail brokers with CB Commercial Real Estate Group. The company serves retailers, developers, property owners and restaurant operators throughout Southern California from offices in Westlake Village and Hermosa Beach.

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