Country Club Centre, one of the region’s first retail malls, has been sold to a San Diego investment company for an estimated $56 million, officials reported Friday.
The seller was a partnership headed by the Buzz Oates Group of Companies, which has owned it since the 1980s but put it up for sale about 18 months ago.
“This is part of our business strategy of selling off our retail portfolio and concentrating on industrial property moving forward,” said Kevin Ramos, chief investment officer with the Sacramento-based Oates group.
The buyer is Tourmaline Capital Management, a San Diego private investment company established in 2011. Its president, Jonathan Cheng, said in an email statement that Tourmaline has no immediate plans for the property but is “in the process of exploring all options.”
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He said the company has been “targeting” Sacramento for investment opportunities for several years.
The center, at the southwest corner of Watt and El Camino avenues, has about 500,000 square feet of retail space, with Walmart, Sam’s Club, Michaels and Anna’s Linens as principal tenants. It is one of the rare retail centers where Walmart and its affiliate, Sam’s Club, operate on leases rather than owning their own property, Ramos said.
There is only one significant vacancy: a 25,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Office Depot.
As part of the deal, the Oates group will retain a four-story office building at 3310 El Camino that is leased to the state Department of Water Resources, Ramos said.
The center opened in 1952, making it one of the region’s oldest suburban malls. Town & Country Village opened in 1947. Country Club Plaza, which is directly across Watt from Country Club Centre, opened in 1960. The plaza was sold last summer to a San Francisco real estate firm.
Early tenants at Country Club Centre included J.C. Penney and the Rhodes department stores. Sam’s Club opened its store there in the 1993 and Walmart opened in 2004, taking over a 130,000-square-foot space previously occupied by Montgomery Ward.
The Oates Group announced last year it would be unloading all of its retail properties; in December, it sold the Ikea-anchored Riverpoint Marketplace in West Sacramento.
As a result of this deal, the company will be left with only about 300,000 square feet of retail space. It has about 2.7 million square feet of office space and 19 million square feet of industrial properties, Ramos said.
Cheng said Tourmaline focuses on buying and developing utilized retail properties on the West Coast. Among its holdings are four centers in Washington state and the Plaza Del Sol center in Burbank.
Call The Bee’s Bob Shallit, (916) 321-1017.