A Santa Monica real estate company has purchased the Larkspur Landing shopping center for $65 million and plans to reposition the aging Marin County property as an open-air market with independent stores and public areas.
“We want to create wonderful public space, outdoors, unanchored, with independent boutique shops rather than a collection of the usual suspects, which is what I call the chain stores,” said James Rosenfield, president of J.S. Rosenfield & Co., which purchased the 173,000-square-foot mall from Inland Western Retail Real Estate Trust Inc.
Among other things, Rosenfield hopes to fill currently and soon-to-be empty spots with a bookstore and toy shop, as well as restaurants and food vendors selling produce, cheese and charcuterie. They plan to renovate the facade, improve the landscaping and add a playground, outdoor eating areas, gardens and pergolas.
J.S. Rosenfield, which owns a handful of Southern California retail properties, revitalized the now-popular Brentwood Country Mart in Los Angeles using a similar approach.
Larkspur Landing, adjacent to the Larkspur ferry terminal, is about 70 percent leased. Tenants include Bed, Bath and Beyond and 24 Hour Fitness.
Rosenfield acknowledged the retail climate could make finding and retaining retailers challenging, but is confident the new mix of shops and public space will reinvigorate the center. He added that the downturn is what allowed him to buy the property, which he’s had his eye on for years.
The company has engaged veterans from one of the region’s most successful retail makeovers: San Francisco’s Ferry Building. Wilson Meany Sullivan, which oversaw the rehabilitation of the historic property, will handle leasing and property management while Baldauf Catton Von Eckartsberg Architects, the retail architects, will design the shopping center.
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