Manhattan investor unveils Wedgewood-Houston project

New York-based Somera Road Inc. bought the 4-acre property at 1414 Fourth Ave. S. on April 23 – with plans to overhaul the building, as depicted in this rendering.

A real estate investor from New York City bought a property in the buzzy Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood on Tuesday — with plans to overhaul the industrial building on-site.

Somera Road Inc. now owns the 4-acre property at 1414 Fourth Ave. S., immediately south of downtown. The developer is rebranding the building as “WeHo Crossing,” with plans to create 60,000 square feet of office space and another 12,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The project is set to debut in early 2020.

“There is a dearth of high-quality, creative, immediately available, unique space — similar to what Austin went through three or four years ago,” said Ian Ross, managing partner of Somera Road. “We can create that here, rather than some generic steel-and-glass building.”

Somera Road’s development cranks up Wedgewood-Houston’s transformation another notch, coming right on the heels of Apple Music and London-based boutique hotelier SoHo House signing leases for the nearby May Hosiery mixed-use development. (Those developers just revealed plans for another such project in the neighborhood, featuring the iconic guitar-shaped scoreboard from the old Greer Stadium).

Somera Road’s purchase also calls fresh attention to the fact that this fast-changing neighborhood lies within an Opportunity Zone. Those zones, created in the federal government’s 2017 tax law overhaul, grant investors lucrative tax breaks in order to entice them to back developments or companies located in those traditionally low-income areas.

Somera Road’s project is the latest in a spurt of local Opportunity Zone dealmaking that has also included the potential relocation of an aerospace manufacturer to North Nashville, apartments in that same part of town and a development in East Nashville.

Ross said he had been evaluating the prospective purchase before the government finalized its list of Opportunity Zones. “It makes a good deal better. It doesn’t really help make a bad deal good,” Ross said of the tax benefits. “We’re not making deals make sense because it’s in an Opportunity Zone. But it is really additive to our investors, if the deal works.”

The purchase price was not immediately available in public records. A spokeswoman for Somera Road declined to disclose the project cost.

This is Somera Road’s first investment in Wedgewood-Houston, after making its local debut by purchasing two buildings in the Gulch from Nashville’s Gibson Guitar Corp. Ohio-based entertainment concept Pins Mechanical Co. is moving into one of those buildings.

Project team

  • Manuel Zeitlin Architects: design
  • Charlie GibsonCushman & Wakefield: broker representing Somera Road on office leases
  • Elam Freeman, Baker Storey McDonald Properties Inc.: broker representing Somera Road on retail leases
  • Lance Bloom, Colliers International: broker who arranged the land sale

The project would involve 60,000 square feet of office space and 12,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

“There is a dearth of high-quality, creative, immediately available, unique space – similar to what Austin went through three or four years ago,” said Ian Ross, managing partner of Somera Road. “We can create that here, rather than some generic steel-and-glass building.”

The existing industrial building on the property will be renovated into this office and commercial space.

This is Somera Road’s first investment in Wedgewood-Houston, after buying two buildings in the Gulch.

Somera Road’s project is named WeHo Crossing.

 

Originally Published By Adam Sichko  – Senior Reporter, Nashville Business Journal

New owners of Century Center want to woo Trader Joe’s to east Modesto with your help

The new owners of Century Center would love to see a Trader Joe’s come into the east Modesto shopping complex. And they’re betting a lot of you do, too.

So they’ve gone as far as erecting signs in front of the shopping center on Oakdale Road asking the public to contact Trader Joe’s about opening at the site. For decades the complex was anchored by Gottschalks department store and Raley’s supermarket before their departures several years ago. But since then it has struggled with vacancies.

Raley’s, which moved out in 2012 after opening its larger location in Village One, finally relinquished the lease it had in the complex at the end of 2018. Before that it had been paying for the vacant space and maintaining its non-compete clause barring other grocery stores from moving into the center.

But now with that restriction lifted, the center’s new owners have big plans to both renovate and attract new retailers. That includes wooing Trader Joe’s, which already has a location in northwest Modesto near Vintage Faire Mall.

Other planned improvements include major facade work to modernize the look and feel of the shopping complex, which debuted in 1979. Long-time tenants Round Table Pizza and Torii Japanese Steakhouse will undergo updating and major renovations. The center owners will also completely recondition the parking lot and upgrade to LED lighting.

Facade renovation renderings of the new Century Center, which has new owners who plan to upgrade the center and hope to attract new retailers. The retails shown in the rendering are illustrative only, and not currently contracted at the center. GRACEADA PARTNERS/SOMERA ROAD INC

New York-based commercial real estate firm Somera Road, Inc. and local investing group Graceada Partners, LLC. purchased the 214,389-square-foot retail center in November for $12.25 million. Already they have three new tenants lined up to move in: Satellite Healthcare, Golden Valley Healthcare and Taqueria El Maguey.

Ryan Swehla, who leads the Central Valley real estate investment group Graceada Partners along with fellow NAI Benchmark principal Joe Muratore, said the new tenants plus updates should help to return the center to its status as a retail epicenter for east Modesto. They hope that will include Trader Joe’s, and it’s not all just wishful thinking. He said they’ve been in contact with Trader Joe’s representatives and begun discussions with the company.

“We are taking a very hands-on approach to recruiting them to the center. We posted the signs to generate community feedback to Trader Joe’s expressing the strong demand that we know exists. We are in early discussions with them although there is by no means certainty around their interest in locating there. But we know Trader Joe’s listens to their customers,” Swehla said.

The signs, posted before the holidays, read, “Do you want to see Trader Joe’s here? If so, please let them know: www.traderjoes.com/contact-us/location-request.” The large white placards, which use the Trader Joe’s red company logo, are posted at the north and south ends of the center along Oakdale Road.

Mr Century Center 2
Signs asking the public to contact Trader Joe’s are posted along the corners of Century Center on Oakdale Road in Modesto, Calif. Jan. 3, 2018. Marijke Rowland MROWLAND@MODBEE.COM

 

Trader Joe’s opened its Dale Road in 1993, and it remains a popular and busy shopping draw. Ask anyone who has stood in line at the Modesto TJ’s on any given Sunday and you’ll understand the desire for another location in the city.

For decades Century Center, on the opposite side of town, had one of the few large grocery stores on the east side with Raley’s, attracting residents from the populous nearby neighborhoods. The complex currently has 10 restaurants, ranging from long-running spots like Ridgway’s and the Ice Cream Co. to Jamba Juice and Pizza Hut. The new taqueria will move into space next to Vision First Optometry. The two healthcare centers will move into space near the back of the complex.

Graceada Partners and Somera Road representatives said they’re excited about the center’s future prospects.

“With these new tenants and updates, Century Center is quickly becoming the mixed use, lifestyle center that we envisioned when purchasing the property,” Swehla said. “Overall we are excited for the rejuvenation of this once bustling retail epicenter of east Modesto.”

Original post: https://www.modbee.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/biz-beat/article223980305.html

Investor sees potential in center that was one of St. Louis’ most delinquent properties

Village Square Center in Hazelwood spans nearly 22 acres, is about 40 percent occupied and was last renovated in 2006.

Appraised for $4.2 million and owing more than $18 million on its mortgage, the center was named one of St. Louis’ most delinquent properties at the end of last year by data analytics firm Trepp.

And for Somera Road Inc. the dilapidated mixed-use development ticked all of its boxes.

The New York-based commercial estate investment firm targets value-add, opportunistic acquisitions. Over the past three years, Somera Road has invested nearly $1 billion in 9.5 million square feet across the U.S., including in Kansas City, Indianapolis and Memphis. Property types under Somera range from industrial to student housing, said founder and Managing Principal Ian Ross.

Of particular interest are properties distressed due to bankruptcy, partnership disputes, and in the case of Village Square Center, loan defaults.

“We take a very active asset management approach to turn the lights back on,” Ross told the Business Journal.

Built in 1965 as a retail destination for north St. Louis County, Village Square was converted into an office park in 1998. Cash flow issues led the loan to be transferred to a special servicer in 2010 and a foreclosure followed in 2012. The property’s appraised value fell 84 percent over a 12-year period to $4.2 million at its most recent appraisal in May 2018, according to Trepp. (Several free-standing buildings at Village Square are not part of the loan’s collateral, Trepp added.)

Its position along one of the most traveled corridors in the region at Lindbergh Boulevard and Interstate 270, proximity to office development near St. Louis Lambert International Airport and such long-term tenants Convergys Corp. and Concentra Health made Village Square the right opportunity, Ross said.

Somera Road bought the property at auction for an undisclosed price and closed on the deal in mid-December.

“The optionality with regards to its existing bones, as well as the magnitude of the physical dirt, provides a lot of options,” Ross said.

Somera is working with the city of Hazelwood, which commissioned a market study in 2016, on the best options for redevelopment. The firm’s managing director, Fergus Campbell, and senior associate, Michael Ervolina, met with City Manager Matt Zimmerman and Community & Economic Development Coordinator Becky Ahlvin as recently as last week. Somera has also met with architects and brokers from such firms as CBRE, Colliers, Balke Brown Transwestern and L3 Corp.

It’s early to project when residents and commuters could see progress at Village Square, Ross said, but he added that “we want to embrace what’s good about the property.”

“It has excellent tenants already. We want to make it an even better working environment.”

By Steph Kukuljan – Reporter, St. Louis Business Journal Jan 29, 2019, 2:24pm CST

Original Post: https://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/news/2019/01/29/investor-sees-potential-in-center-that-was-one-of.html

City Center Square’s new owners secure $60M for renovations

A substantial renovation will be coming to City Center Square after Somera Road Inc. bought the building in mid-January for an undisclosed amount.

Dallas-based Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP said in a release Tuesday that the company secured $60.2 million in acquisition bridge financing on behalf of Somera Road.

According to the release, Somera will use proceeds from the loan “to renovate, rebrand and reposition the property as the premier downtown office tower in Kansas City.”

Located at 11th and Main streets, the 30-story, 657,070 square-foot building is home to the Kansas City Business Journal, Pinsight Media + and Alight Analytics. Its market value last year was $17.37 million, according to Jackson County property records.

The building’s occupancy rate is 50 percent.

The renovation will include a “state-of-the-art fitness center and tenant lounge, numerous in-house dining options, a fully-activated lobby, a hospitality center, a conferencing center and a revival of the property’s iconic lightwell,” the HFF release said. “Furthermore, Somera Road intends to activate the exterior with retail terraces and public seating.”

HFF Director Leon McBroom and Senior Managing Director Mark Katz represented the borrower.

Representatives from HFF and Somera Road could not be reached for comment before publication.

By Miranda Davis – Staff Writer, Kansas City Business Journal

Original Post: https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2019/01/29/city-center-square-somera-road-renovations-hff.html