The 260,000-square-foot Torrance Towne Center retail complex boasts a prime location in southern Los Angeles county, sitting at the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway.
The city of Torrance owns the land under the mall, while the ground lease was acquired by La Caze Development Company in 2002. The 10-building complex was most recently refinanced in 2018 with a $52 million loan from Goldman Sachs, which was then included in a CMBS deal named GSMS 2019-GC38.
Documents associated with the securitization provide an inside look at the mall’s finances, which appear to have remained robust amid the pandemic.
As of October 2018, the mall was 97 percent leased to 28 tenants, including two cell tower tenants, according to loan documents. Average base rent came out to $26 per square foot, but varied widely by tenant.
The anchor tenant, Kohl’s Department Store, occupies 36 percent of the property’s area in the form of a ground sublease and pays about $1 million in ground rent per year — or less than $11 per square foot. Among the top 10 tenants, the priciest leases go to two banks, with Bank of America and Comerica Bank each paying more than $60 per square foot.
After the banks, fast casual restaurants Panera Bread has the priciest lease at $57 per square foot. Among tenants whose sales were disclosed in loan documents, Panera Bread also has the highest sales per square foot at $604.
La Caze Development Company was founded by Norman La Caze and Carole La Caze in 1980, and has been involved in developing about 3 million square feet of commercial real estate in California, Nevada and Hawaii according to the loan prospectus.
According to a surveillance update from Kroll Bond Rating Agency last week, all tenants at Torrance Towne Center are currently open; they have to adhere to Covid restrictions. The property’s mortgage payments have remained current through the pandemic, according to Trepp.
Elsewhere in Torrance, London-based investment firm Charing Cross recently bought a shopping center at 19330 Hawthorne Boulevard from Florida-based Regency Centers for $39.7 million. The area’s logistics market has also held strong despite the pandemic, as the nearby Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have both set new cargo records in recent months.