It was the perfect retailer for a community caught up in a property boom. When the area’s first and only Ikea furniture store opened in 2006, at the fledgling Riverpoint Marketplace in West Sacramento, interest was so high that scores of shoppers camped out overnight for a chance at a free gift.
The region has since weathered an epic real estate crash and economic downturn, and so has Riverpoint. The center eventually became the area’s fourth-largest retail development, with roughly $200 million in annual sales.
On Monday, the project near Interstate 80 was sold. The Buzz Oates Group of Companies and its development partner, Ramco Enterprises of West Sacramento, announced they had sold the center to Excel Trust Inc., a San Diego real estate investment firm, for an undisclosed price.
“It’s a project that was just completed in the last year or so,” said Kevin Ramos, chief investment officer at the Oates firm. “We felt we had maximized the value for our partnership, and it was time to move on.” He added that the Oates company, while still involved in retail development, has decided to focus more of its attention on industrial properties.
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Ramos said the developers mulled a slew of development offers after acquiring the Riverpoint land in 1999, including an auto mall and Indian casino. The Oates-Ramco partnership settled on a power retail center and struck a deal with Ikea, the successful Swedish furniture retailer, which became Riverpoint’s first occupant. The West Sacramento location, opening to great fanfare in March 2006, was just the company’s 27th U.S. store at the time. (There are 40 today.)
“Ikea came along, and we were able to make a transaction,” Ramos said.
The Home Depot and a Walmart Supercenter opened in 2008, and a slew of smaller retailers eventually filled in most of the remaining spaces, despite the collapse of the housing market. The Walmart, combining a full-size grocery store and general-merchandise location, was one of the first Supercenters in the area.
“We just kind of persevered and kept going,” Ramos said. “Those are pretty strong anchors.”
The center is 98 percent leased and employs around 1,000 workers.
According to the Oates company, the center is the fourth-largest retail property in the region, after the Westfield Galleria at Roseville, Arden Fair and Sunrise Mall.
Officials with the Oates firm called the development a success, noting that the recession hit shortly after the center opened.
Although the center encompasses 900,000 square feet, Ramos said the sale involved only 134,000 square feet of retail space that isn’t owned by the three anchors. Ramos said the Oates-Ramco partnership has retained ownership of a 105,000-square-foot office building at the center, plus two undeveloped retail parcels adjacent to the freeway.
Excel is a publicly owned real estate trust that specializes in retail centers. The San Diego company earned $5.5 million in the first nine months of the year on revenue of $91.5 million. Company officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.