Blackhawk Plaza retail, restaurant, movie center is bought by Southern California investors

DANVILLE — One of the East Bay’s best-known retail centers, Blackhawk Plaza in Danville, has been bought by investors based in Southern California.

Blackhawk Plaza, a boutique mall of stores, restaurants, offices, museums, and a movie theater perched on a hillside next to the exclusive Blackhawk residential community, was purchased by a Newport Beach-based group — and it’s possible the sellers took a loss with the transaction.

An affiliate led by real estate executive Deba Shyam bought Blackhawk Plaza, according to documents on file with Contra Costa County officials. Shyam heads a real estate analytics company and has formed multiple real estate entities, state business records show.

“Blackhawk Plaza did some decent leasing in the beginning but it began to fall off after that,” said Deborah Perry, a senior vice president and retail property expert with Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm.

One of the challenges facing the new owners — and a challenge that has confronted the owners of Blackhawk Plaza over the years — is that the complex isn’t visible from the freeway. The center is about five miles away from Interstate 680, requiring a 12-minute drive along Crow Canyon Road.

Still, Blackhawk Plaza has plenty of attributes to commend it.

“It’s a beautiful center,” Perry said. “It’s on a hill. The setting is great.”

Plus, the posh Blackhawk gated subdivision stretches along the hills next to and near Blackhawk Plaza, giving the center access to well-heeled customers who live nearby.

Perhaps the most successful element of the center is the Century Blackhawk Plaza movie theaters, in the view of Jon Woodcox, a broker with Lockehouse Retail Group, a commercial real estate firm.

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“The movie theater has pretty good volume, generally speaking,” Woodcox said. “The Blackhawk movie theater is in the top two or three for ticket sales in the East Bay.”

Ramanujan Group, based in the Orange County city of Newport Beach, is the new owner of the center, county real estate records show.

The buyer paid $38.3 million for Blackhawk Plaza in a transaction that closed on April 3, the county documents show.

Preferred Bank provided $28 million in financing for the transaction.

“Blackhawk Plaza has had some challenges over the years,” Woodcox said. “But they have a good brokerage, JLL, which is leading the leasing on it.”

Public records suggest that the seller in the transaction, CenterCal Properties, sold the property for less than the estimated value of Blackhawk Plaza at the time of the purchase. CenterCal Properties is a real estate investment and development firm based in the Los Angeles suburb of El Segundo.

Blackhawk Plaza’s assessed value just ahead of the purchase was $61.4 million, Contra Costa County assessment records show.

Plus, in the years after CenterCal Properties bought Blackhawk Plaza in 2005, CenterCal spent about $50 million on an array of upgrades at the mall. CenterCal added new exteriors, sculptures, outdoor seating, lights, and a play structure for children.

CenterCal also attempted to broaden the appeal of Blackhawk Plaza beyond the wealthy residents of the Blackhawk subdivision by marketing the center to residents of Danville, Alamo, Diablo, San …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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