[caption id="attachment_50153" align="alignright" width="405" caption="D.R. Stephens purchased these six San Rafael properties. (Keegan & Coppin photo)"][/caption]

SAN RAFAEL -- A major Bay Area commercial property investor and manager purchased six San Rafael industrial buildings.

San Francisco-based D.R. Stephens & Co. purchased 444-470 DuBois St. for $7.75 million, or about $120 for each of the 64,500 square feet of building space. Affiliates hold about 5 million square feet of mainly research-and-development and industrial properties within 100 miles of the region, including 3 million square feet in Silicon Valley

The North Bay purchase was the completion of a Section 1031 exchange following the sale of a Daly City property, according to Lane Stephens, president. He said a multitenant property was a safer bet to complete the exchange than the company's typical target, a single-tenant property.

"The San Rafael property has eight tenants, it is a pretty tight market," Mr. Stephens said. "There is only one 8,000-square-foot vacancy."

The vacancy rate for the 6.44 million square feet of industrial space in Marin was 7.8 percent at the end of 2011, up from 5.9 percent at the end of 2010 but down from 9.6 percent in the middle of last year, according to Keegan & Coppin.

Tenants include Sausalito Classic Car Storage's second location, Ferrari of San Francisco Service, Kelly Moore Paint and JC Paper.

D.R. Stephens has been looking to get back into Marin for a while, according to Jeff Traynor, a Cornish & Carey Commercial agent who represented the company in the deal. Nathan Ballard and Matt Storms of Keegan & Coppin/ONCOR International represented seller Larken Properties, LLC.

The company owned BioMarin Pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in Novato before selling them a few years ago. Current North Bay holdings are 176,000 square feet of Petaluma warehouses at 755 and 775 Southpoint Blvd. Key tenants there are the U.S. Postal Service's North Bay Delivery Distribution Center -- not among the eight California facility consolidations announced Feb. 23 -- Keith Giusto Bakery Supply, Pomegranate Communications and Expedition Island.

Mr. Stephens' father, Bank of San Francisco co-founder Donald R. Stephens, started real estate investment company D.R. Stephens (www.drstephens.com, 415-781-8000) in 1973. Another son, Justin Hunnicutt Stephens, is the managing winemaker for the Hunnicutt and D.R. Stephens Estate wine brands in Napa Valley.