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Behind the Deal: Why Dunhill is Loading Up on Retail

S.F.'s Dunhill Partners West, a brokerage that reps big FiDi owners, is looking outside city lines to buy more shopping centers. We sat down with CEO Mark Hutchinson, who tells us how he lost—then won—two properties.

Mark (right, during a helicopter snowboarding trip to Blue River Canada last year with buddy Dr. Keith White) tells us his company was this week's unknown buyer of Orinda Theatre Square (below). And now we know the price: around $330/SF for the 90k SF art deco property, or nearly $30M. This year Mark sealed a big renewal deal with First Republic Bank at 388 Market, and the 26-story building is now 100% occupied.

Mark tells us the company also purchased Empire Center in Antioch at the end of March. Dunhill made offers on both Empire Center and Orinda when they first hit the market, but were not the highest bidder on either and were not selected in the first go-around. But Mark says when the chosen buyers for both the properties stumbled, Dunhill was there to step up and close quickly.

This comes a few years after Dunhill bought Nut Tree, which is the largest redevelopment project in the City of Vacaville's history. At completion, the 71-acre master plan will include 393k SF of retail space, 140k SF of office space, 216 apartment units, a two-acre amusement park, and a 3.4-acre event center.