Cornerstone buys Press Democrat Santa Rosa office building

[caption id="attachment_91201" align="alignnone" width="500"] Cornerstone Properties purchased this 58,000-square-foot downtown Santa Rosa office building housing the Business Journal and Press Democrat. (Credit: Eric Gneckow)[/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- A commercial real estate investment company that owns a number of North Bay properties purchased the 58,000-square-foot downtown Santa Rosa office building that houses the publishing offices of Santa Rosa Press Democrat and the Business Journal and plans to refurbish the mostly vacant ground floor for retail or office tenants.

Cornerstone Properties, which recently relocated its corporate offices from San Mateo to Petaluma, purchased 427 Mendocino Ave. and four nearby parking lots from affiliates of Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Halifax Media Group on April 15, according to public records. The purchase price wasn't disclosed.

Attractive aspects for the deal were stable, sizable tenants and plenty of parking, according to Keegan & Coppin Co., Inc./ONCOR International agent Brian Keegan, who represented Cornerstone Properties in the purchase. There are seven years remaining on the current term of the leases to The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Inc., and Sonoma Media Investments, Inc., which also owns the Journal, Petaluma Argus-Courier, Sonoma Index-Tribune as well as several other publications and the MediaLab website design service.

"It's the last real big private parking play downtown," Mr. Keegan said. "Parking is a big piece of the puzzle."

The purchase includes a parking lot immediately south of the building, one across Ross Street from it and two lots on Seventh Street between Riley and Humboldt streets.

Steve Falk, president and CEO of Sonoma Media Investments, said Cornerstone Properties wants to keep the company as a long-term tenant.

"It is good that he is wanting to spruce up this area of downtown," Mr. Falk said, referring to Alon Adani, a Cornerstone Properties principal focused on the North Bay.

Cornerstone Properties wants to add a lot of glass to the largely windowless street level of the building to accommodate restaurant, grocery or office uses, according to Mr. Keegan. When asked about rumors of a grocery store occupying the space, he said that none are looking for a downtown location currently.

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