East Coast Firm Buys Malibu Village

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Malibu Village

The Malibu Village Shopping Center has a new owner, its fourth in the last seven years. 

Jamestown, an East Coast-based real estate and investment firm, purchased the Malibu Village for an undisclosed sum in a deal that was finalized Thursday with KRE Capital, company representatives confirmed. 

Before KRE Capital bought the commercial shopping center in 2011, it was owned by Pouya Abdi, who bought the 50,000-square-foot Village from Steve Soboroff in 2007. 

New owner Jamestown holds $7.3 billion dollars in real estate assets nationwide, with most of its properties on the East Coast, including several residential and commercial buildings in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Boston. Its other properties are located in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina. California is the only West Coast state where Jamestown owns other properties, specifically in Berkeley, San Luis Obispo and San Francisco. Jamestown also owns two properties nearby in Santa Monica. 

“This acquisition continues Jamestown’s commitment to investing in California, having recently purchased the Lantana office complex in Santa Monica, the famed Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco and a retail portfolio in downtown San Luis Obispo,” a statement issued by Jamestown said.

Jamestown, a privately traded company founded in 1983, declined to state how much it paid for the Malibu Village, though one local commercial Realtor said the current market has investors heavily interested in the Westside, specifically Malibu. 

“There are a lot of investment groups from all over the world looking for assets, from Downtown through the Westside, and they like retail and they like high-end retail. That includes Malibu, and that’s why a property gets a big sale of that high magnitude,” said local commercial leasing agent Tony Dorn. Dorn primarily works as an agent for the Trancas Country Market. 

The desire for “high-end” retail could clash with a voter initiative community members are trying to place on the local November ballot. Aiming to limit the number of recognizable brand-name stores often seen in the center of town, the “Your Malibu, Your Decision” Act would place a 30 percent limit on the number of chain stores permitted to operate in Malibu shopping centers. “Essential” services such as groceries, banks and medical offices are excluded, among others. In existing shopping centers, the 30 percent limit would apply to spaces under 1,400 square feet. 

Jamestown vowed to keep Malibu’s “closely knit” community feel in mind while running the center. 

“Our viewpoint is that local businesses are vital to a community, as are local-serving businesses,” Jamestown Chief Operating Officer Michael Phillips said. 

“We recognize the importance of Malibu’s closely knit beachfront community and we look forward to being good stewards in providing meaningful amenities and creating a vibrant gathering space for local residents,” he added. 

With their latest acquisition, Dorn implied that getting in on Malibu’s commercial market was a strategic move by Jamestown. 

“They certainly know what they’re buying, they’re buying in a market with very little square footage overall,” Dorn said. “The barrier to entry is very, very high.” 

The Malibu Village has been the subject of controversy in recent years, including the polarizing closure of longtime local restaurant Guido’s. The Malibu Village is home to Chipotle, Regal’s Twin Cinema, Marmalade Cafe, Wells Fargo Bank and Banana Republic, among several others. 

Jamestown is keeping Jay Luchs as its leasing agent for the Malibu Village. He also worked with prior owner KRE Capital. 

As far as any new businesses opening in the center or vacating the center, Phillips declined to comment. 

“Several leases were in the works before we closed on the property, but it is premature to make any announcements at this time. It’s almost a fully leased building and we are committed to making the center more organic — focusing on street retail and local amenities,” Phillips said.