[caption id="attachment_93413" align="aligncenter" width="500"] The most prominent of the five Santa Rosa office buildings STG Group purchased on May 29, 2014, was 100 B St. downtown. (credit: Keegan & Coppin)[/caption]

SANTA ROSA -- A local commercial real estate investor with millions of square feet of holdings in Western states purchased five Santa Rosa office buildings totaling about 168,000 square feet and plans upgrades to attract tenants to buildings that are about half-empty on average.

Petaluma-based STG Group purchased the buildings on May 29 from longtime owner Sausalito-based Berg Holdings Corp. for roughly $13 million, or $79--$80 a square foot.

"That's right in the wheelhouse of where we thought the value was, given the occupancy," said Jim Ballard, STG director of acquisitions and leasing.

Skip Berg, principal of Berg Holdings, who bought the buildings from architect and developer Larry Simons, couldn't be reached for comment on the sale.

Average occupancy for the Santa Rosa properties was 51 percent at the time of sale, with 80,000 square feet available for lease.

That's what 29-year-old STG looks for, Mr. Ballard said.

"We look at partially leased and underperforming assets and how we can run them more efficiently or at the level we do in the rest of the portfolio," he said. "Being here in the Santa Rosa area, we look at this as more of a long-term purchase."

That long-term vision allows the company to have more flexibility in its deal-making, he said. STG has solicited designs for revamping the common areas and exteriors of the buildings to attract institutional-level tenants.

An example of aggressive marketing was STG's asking rent of nearly $1-a-square-foot for a 35 percent-occupied 51,000-square-foot office building in north Petaluma. That got the attention of larger companies, and now the building is two-thirds full, Mr. Ballard said.

STG's Santa Rosa portfolio purchase is part of a string of such deals in Sonoma County since the economic recession started locally in 2006.

Before the Santa Rosa deal, STG's holdings in the city were just 115,000 square feet -- an office building and an industrial building. The overall portfolio has 4.5 million square feet in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska and is 89 percent occupied.

Shawn Johnson, Joel Jaman and Danny Jones of Keegan & Coppin/ONCOR International brokered the deal for Berg Holdings, and Danny Jones represented STG.Acquisition by the numbers

Buildings: Five

Square footage: 169,280130 and 140 Stony Point Rd., Santa Rosa

Type: Retail and office

Square footage: 38,507141 and 149 Stony Cir., Santa Rosa

Type: Office

Square footage: 83,934100 B St., Santa Rosa

Type: Office

Square footage: 46,839