A team of Colliers International brokers specializing in office, retail and land brokerage, has sold a pair of excess properties, an office/retail property and excess parking lot, previously owned by Opus Bank in Fullerton’s gentrified and trendy SOCO District (South of Commonwealth), company officials have announced. Total combined consideration for the properties was $3.5 million.

Comprised of two parcels -- an office/retail building and an adjacent parking lot -- Opus acquired the properties during its acquisition of Fullerton Community Bank. Opus Bank relocated most of the employees located at these properties during 2013 to its Commonwealth Avenue banking office nearby and corporate office in Irvine, and no longer required the additional office space and excess parking. That’s when it enlisted the team of brokers from Colliers to sell the properties.

Led by Colliers Director of Office Specialty Group in Orange County Robert Caudill, the team was comprised of Senior Vice President Salvatorre Provenza, a specialist in residential land development, and Vice President Terrison Quinn, a retail specialist.

“Interestingly, the properties were purchased by a pair of brothers, but they were not partners in the purchases,” said Colliers Director of Office Specialty Group in Orange County Robert Caudill, who oversaw the brokerage team. “That’s one of the reasons we assembled the team – to keep the purchasers’ interests separate and distinct.”

Cedar Mountain, a real estate investment firm owned by Albert Bushala, purchased the now-empty retail/office building. His brother, Tony Bushala, a private real estate investor, purchased the adjacent parking lot in a separate transaction.

“These parcels, either separately or together, are prime for re-purposing at a time when the economy is improving and demand for more urbanized, upscale rental housing is growing,” said Colliers Provenza, who specializes in land brokerage for residential development. “These properties, especially the parcel now being used as a parking lot, could be easily used for multi-family residential development. Combining residents with food and entertainment will enhance the fun, mixed-use vibe that SOCO is known for.”

Located near the busy Fullerton Transportation Center, which serves as a hub for Metrolink and Amtrak connections to Los Angeles, south Orange County and the Inland Empire, these properties are at the heart of the SOCO district, which has attracted upscale restaurants, coffee shops, entertainment venues, and trendy retailers, Quinn noted.

Proof of that can be found in the fact that development firm Lennar Multi-Family is developing a large, luxury apartment building south of the just-purchased parking lot and west of the city’s new municipal parking structure, noted Provenza. Lennar’s site is 2.4 acres and plans call for the construction of 200 residential units with 5,000 square feet of retail or other commercial space.

“Housing has been one of the few elements in SOCO that has lagged behind retail, but is now primed to gain some traction as the economy improves,” Provenza said. “Although nothing has yet been planned on these particular parcels, there’s a real opportunity for a residential developer who understands the need for urban infill to build upscale rental housing in one of Orange County’s most-densely populated areas.”