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Petaluma: The New Venice?

Well, not quite. But interest is clearly high for its downtown waterfront properties, as evidenced by JB Matteson's latest purchase of the 99-unit Theatre Square Apartments for $32.5M in an off-market deal. We hear that sets a new per-door price record in Sonoma County (we wonder what the per-wine case record is). This marks the San Mateo firm's third urban apartment acquisition north of the Golden Gate Bridge in recent months. Nearly half of the units in the three-story Class-A property have that loft-style industrial look. The seller Basin Street Properties, which developed the property back in 2005, was repped by Cushman's Seth Siegel. JB tells us it's in pursuit of another Bay Area apartment acquisition that's too early to discuss. They have two more 1031 exchanges to complete this year, which will require one or two more acquisitions. 

Following the purchase of Rafael Town Center in San Rafael in February, JB Matteson prez John Bellack (here with his pet squirrel) told us there's strong demand in downtown as much as edge city environments, and competition remains steep; liquid properties are always highly sought after. Last year, JB scooped up $190M in West Coast apartments. Theatre Square Apartments' nearby riverfront just got some improvements in the form of benches, rustic light poles, walkways and a footbridge that allows for easy access across the river. The property's got one big quality John looks for: walkable amenities. Boulevard Cinemas, Mystic Theater, Walnut Park, restaurants (Graffiti sits downstairs), bars, you name it. (We can pretend St. Mark's Square is there, too.)