Whole city block across from planned downtown arena changes hands

08/19/2014 3:59 PM

10/01/2014 1:09 PM

A group of local buyers closed escrow Tuesday on 555 Capitol Mall, a major downtown office property that occupies an entire city block near the planned Sacramento Kings basketball arena.

The 380,000-square-foot property includes two connected office towers, topping out at 14 stories, with retail and restaurant space on the ground floors. A 791-space parking garage in back is across L Street from the planned arena site.

Tenants include a number of law and accounting firms. But the building is only about 60 percent occupied, according to the new owners.

The buyer, Trinity Pacific Partners, is made up of Sacramento-area firms Buzz Oates LLC, AM Investors and Rubicon Partners. The same group renovated the Forum Building at Ninth and K streets and the Citizen Hotel at 10th and J streets.

The sellers are members of families that originally developed the Modernist-style property in the early 1970s, said Dan Corfee, with AM Investors. He declined to disclose the purchase price; it was not immediately available from public records.

Corfee said the new owners plan to renovate the half-empty office towers and fill them with tenants, including street-level retail and services that tie into the arena.

“Our group is Sacramentans putting money back into the market,” Corfee said. “We’ve lived in this market all our careers. We’re really excited.”

The demolition of much of the Downtown Plaza shopping mall and the planned new arena spurred the purchase and will help draw tenants, he said.

Kipp Blewett said his firm, Rubicon Partners, will operate and lease the building. The plan is to lure more “boutique firms” like the ones that already occupy the building.

Michael Ault, head of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, an alliance of businesses in the central city, said the promised economic benefits of the new arena have begun.

“Everything we had talked about in the way of momentum from the arena project is starting to come together,” Ault said. “The day that wrecking ball came it opened the doors for people to say ‘This truly is happening.’ ”

“The best part about 555 is not just that the buildings are changing hands but it’s the mixed use of office product and quality ground floor retail,” he said. “The enthusiasm we see from the private capital market looking at assets ripe for repositions – and this is a key property – is really exciting.”

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