Sale puts Inland Empire Empire retail back to pre-pandemic mark

OC-based investor pays $71M for 310,000 sf center in Fontana

JH Real Estate Partners CEO Hugo Aviles and the property at 16701 Valley Boulevard (Google Maps, JHREP)
JH Real Estate Partners CEO Hugo Aviles and the property at 16701 Valley Boulevard (Google Maps, JHREP)

Investors are hot for industrial property in the Inland Empire — and they’re warming up to retail, too.

JH Real Estate Partners bought a 310,000-square-foot shopping center in Fontana for $70.8 million, CBRE announced on Thursday. The brokerage represented the seller, Westlake-Village based The Baralat Company, in the deal.

The deal is the highest overall price paid for a retail property in the Inland Empire since 2018. The sale came out to around $228 per square foot, well ahead of other fully leased retail properties anchored by other types of stores. In the Inland Empire municipality of Montclair, a 136,000-square-foot shopping center that’s fully leased to Ross Stores is on the market for $25 million — about $184 per square foot.

JH Real Estate Partners obtained a loan from Wells Fargo for the buy in Fontana records show.

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Located at 16701 Valley Boulevard, the 16-building shopping complex is leased to a range of tenants — from Regency Theaters to Burlington Coat Factory to Taco Bell. The shopping center is anchored by Cardenas Market, a Hispanic grocery store.

Demand for the property was boosted by its location — located along the 10 Freeway and across the street from a Kaiser Permanente medical facility, according to CBRE’s Patrick Wade.

Grocery-anchored retail centers across Southern California have fared well compared to other retail classes during the pandemic, prompting demand from institutional investors.

Tenants are expected to take up more retail space over the course of the year, according to CBRE, eventually lowering vacancy rates.