SAN LEANDRO — A big San Leandro mall that has evolved as a unique combination of retailers and industrial and tech startups has been bought by a major real estate player.
Westgate Shopping Center, a two-story mall and commercial development that once was a vehicle manufacturing plant near the Interstate 880 and Davis Street interchange in San Leandro, has been bought by affiliates of Blackstone Real Estate and its retail unit ShopCore Properties for $87 million in cash, Alameda County property records show.
“This is a strongly performing retail asset that’s important for San Leandro’s economy,” said Katie Bowman, the city’s economic development manager. “It’s also a great opportunity for startups and creative businesses.”
The all-cash purchase by BRE Westgate Property Owner on Oct. 29 points to a robust East Bay commercial realty market. As of June 2018, mall was valued at $58.9 million, Alameda County assessment documents show, which means the purchase price was well above the assessed value.
For decades, the long, two-story mall was a Plymouth vehicle manufacturing plant, which began production in the 1950s, according to a website for the complex. Then in the 1970s, it became a Caterpillar tractor factory. In the 1980s, the site changed hands again and became a mall, with the second floor often used for warehousing and storage for the ground-floor retail outlets.
It’s that upper level that prompted a creative approach to filling up the property. In California retail uses can often wither when they are located on a second floor.
ScanlanKemperBard, or SKB, a Portland, Ore.-based realty firm, converted the upper floor into numerous small spaces for tech startups, creative artists and small industrial companies. The ground floor is fully leased to traditional big box retailers such as Home Depot, Office Depot, Burlington, and Ross Dress for Less.
“It’s a creative use of an old manufacturing plant,” Bowman said.
Source:: The Mercury News – Business