Popular Serramonte Center shifts hands

A Florida-based real estate investment firm has nearly completed the purchase of one of the Peninsula’s largest shopping centers, and officials say the property is primed for future expansion.

Equity One, based in Miami Beach, Fla., is poised to be the new owner of the Serramonte Center, the 821,950-square-foot mall that first opened more than four decades ago along Interstate 280.

The purchase, expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011, is part of a $600 million acquisition of Capital and Counties USA, an investment firm based in San Francisco that currently owns Serramonte and 14 other California properties.

Michele Villano, investor relations manager for Equity One, declined to discuss the company’s plans for the mall because the deal is not yet done. But she said the mall will be the company’s first in California and noted its growth potential.

“It’s sitting on about 72 acres,” she said. “There’s a lot of room for expansion.”

Villano said the firm was attracted to the mall by the dense population and below-market rents in the area, among other factors.

“I don’t think the incomes are extraordinarily high, but it’s so densely populated so the retailers such as Target and those kind of shops do very, very well,” Villano said.

Daly City Vice Mayor Sal Torres said he hopes the city will sit down with the new owners once the deal is done and “scope out what their ideas are” for the long-term.

“There’s always room for improvement in any shopping district, any business corridor,” Torres said. “I think there’s a lot of things they can do out there, a lot of land they can still develop.”

In the short-term, though, shoppers shouldn’t expect major changes, other than the previously planned opening of JC Penny in spring 2011.

“I think it’s pretty much business as usual,” said Georgette Sarles, president and CEO of the Daly City-Colma Chamber of Commerce.

The single-story center first opened in 1968 and contains 123 stores, including a Target that ranks in the top 20 in terms of volume among the chain’s 1,600 locations nationwide, according to the mall.

Sarles said the chamber often hosts special events at the mall and hopes to maintain a good relationship with the new ownership.

“Daly City is very proud of Serramonte Center,” she said.

sbishop@sfexaminer.com

Shopping mecca

The Serramonte Center is one of the area’s largest shopping sites.

1968 Year opened

2003-07 Years renovated

73 Acres

4,645 Parking spaces

123 Stores

821,950 Square feet of mall

323,465 Square feet of shops

461,992 Square feet of anchors (Macy’s, Target, JC Penny)

Source: Serramonte Center

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