In a process that took nearly two years to complete, a retail team from Colliers International’s downtown Los Angeles office has closed a retail investment transaction valued at $17.75 million for the bankrupt Camarillo Plaza community shopping center in this Ventura County city, company officials have announced. 

After 20 months of court rulings and financial challenges, including the last-minute threat of a government shutdown that could have delayed the transaction by closing U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, the Colliers Anchored Retail West team, led by industry veterans Tom Lagos and El Warner, were successful in having loan restrictions removed that had hampered the sale of the property. By having the loan restrictions removed, the team then marketed the property and received 20 separate offers for the well-located, 74,072-square-foot community shopping center that was forced into bankruptcy after vacancies spiked during the recession. 

Camarillo Plaza is located along US 101 on Daily Drive at the intersection of Brently Avenue. The majority of its tenants are local retailers and national chain restaurants including Baja Fresh and Hamburger Habit, and service retailers including Avis Rent-a-Car. 

“Although the center still has some retail vacancies that pose a challenge in the current market, the buyer saw long-term potential and understands that the city’s highly restrictive growth controls on future commercial building will increase demand for retail space in the near future,” said Colliers Executive Vice President Lagos. “But what the sale really represents is an upturn in the retail economy, which is a positive sign for the region, especially when you consider the length of time we spent marketing this property and the number of offers we were able to attract.” 

Lagos first listed the property in February 2012 when the center’s owner was forced to sell the property through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court due to high vacancies that placed the center outside the provisions of its existing loan requirements. A buyer was then identified, but the transaction did not complete the escrow process due to a difficult loan assumption approval clause.
“I had worked with the seller in the past and had built a strong relationship, so the deal truly became possible when we were able to work as trusted advisors with our client’s attorneys and the lender’s attorneys to help remove some of the ‘hoops’ that the court process and loan provisions required any potential buyers to jump through,” said Lagos. “For example, removing the requirement of a loan assumption put in place the proper conditions for a sale that would eventually benefit everyone involved.” 

Built in 1988, the Spanish Revival-designed center consists of four one-story multi-tenant buildings and three one-story and single-tenant pads on 8.54 acres. It is located directly across US 101 from the well-known and highly-trafficked Camarillo Premium Outlet Mall, which features retailers including Ralph Lauren, Nike, The Gap and others. The center also is located in the middle of Camarillo’s commercial shopping district. 

While Lagos and Warner represented the center in the transaction, the buyer was a private investor from Beverly Hills who was represented by Peter Cohen of Cardinal Equities.