Newcomer Buys Big, Wants More
Locale Advisors, a new firm that’s the brainchild of 28-year San Diego real estate industry vet Phil Monroe, acquired its third office this year. (That could either be one per quarter or one per supermoon. We'll be checking the skies.)
Locale picked up the San Diego Tech Center in Sorrento Mesa, with institutional investment partner Lionstone Investments, for north of $250M. Phil tells us the 655k SF nine-building campus has a lot of room to grow, up to 1.2M SF—and it’s going to be creative, office-of-the-future space. Phil, snapped here with his family in Brooklyn, formed Locale this year, after a 12-year stint as a partner at Cruzan | Monroe, where he focused on value-add, re-development, development, and core acquisitions in San Diego County. His goal is for Locale to do the same kinds of acquisitions, rebrand and reposition the properties, and make their space even more creative.
Locale director of acquisitions Jay Boyle (left) tells us that in San Diego, the submarkets are car-connected, so an office campus can’t necessarily rely on the surrounding neighborhood to help make it a desirable location. The property has to be that desirable location, with creative indoor-outdoor space, creative interiors, and first-rate amenities. This year, Locale also purchased Torrey Reserve West and 5015 Shoreham Place.
Phil and Jay took Bisnow on a tour of the property. First stop: the campus’ Aerobic Studio, which has a distinctive Japanese flair to it—a theme common to the entire campus.
The Japanese theme is especially clear at the koi pond and garden, which offer workers a meditative spot.
Some interior amenities: a fitness facility, which includes a Pilates studio, lap pool, basketball and volleyball courts, and a locker room.
After working out, food and drink is available on campus.
The LEED Gold campus is 99% leased to major companies, including Sony Computer Entertainment America, Qualcomm, Novatel Wireless, Combined Conditional Access, and Samsung. Phil says that capital upgrades are planned throughout the existing campus, with an emphasis on making it as easy to work outside as it is inside. Future development will be build-to-suit or phased development of the other parcels.
Jay, here with his wife Megan, is optimistic that San Diego will offer other investment opportunities for Locale. He says fundamentals are strong, without being so strong that there’s much chance of overheating or overbuilding. (If anyone asks, that's why we don't go to the gym every day. We don't want to be too strong.) Eastdil Secured and JLL repped both buyer and seller in the Tech Center deal. JLL’s Jay Alexander, Chad Urie, and Tim Olson will continue to oversee leasing.