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Basin Street Properties buys seven Santa Rosa buildings

Basin Street Properties is buying seven Santa Rosa office buildings from a real estate investor and developer known for some of the area’s more prominent buildings.

Reno-based Basin Street’s Santa Rosa portfolio now exceeds 1 million square feet with the purchase of 337,360 square feet of space from Simons & Woodard. Architect Larry Simons, who turns 80 in May, has been designing and developing Sonoma County buildings for five decades.

The price wasn’t disclosed.

“Simons & Woodard will be no more after we’re finished wrapping up things,” said Joan Woodard, president and CEO, on Feb. 1. Improvement in the office market and leasing up the buildings made this the right time for the transition, she said.

The company has two remaining management contracts. The 2235 Mercury Way building developed for Nokia will shift to new managers. The Fountaingrove Medical Building at 3536 Mendocino Ave. is being sold.

“We have always admired Simons & Woodard’s work, and we believe these buildings with their lasting appeal and attractive locations are a great fit for [our] portfolio,” said Matt White, CEO of Basin Street Properties.

Six of the buildings in the latest sale are in west Santa Rosa, at 70, 100, 110 and 120 Stony Point Road, 131 Stony Circle (buildings A and B). The seventh is at 3333 Mendocino Ave. They are nearly 90 percent leased. Tenants include Farmers Insurance, Sutter Health, National Instruments, Kaiser Permanente and US Bank.

Basin Street now has 13 projects in the Santa Rosa area, plus properties in Petaluma and Marin County. It plans updates to lobbies, common areas and landscaping that complement the architecture and features of the newly acquired buildings.

The fourth-quarter office space vacancy rate in Santa Rosa has dropped to 13.4 percent of 7.2 million square feet from 18.2 percent in 2013, according to Keegan & Coppin/ONCOR International.

Leasing up Santa Rosa properties has been a decadelong challenge, Woodard said. A number of office and industrial buildings changed hands in Santa Rosa and Petaluma just after the great recession, as mortgages obtained at the peak of the market became unsustainable as vacancies mounted.

“While occupancy is back up, we do not have the rents back,” she said. “There is still the impact of competing properties that were picked up for pennies on the dollar, so they were offered at lower rents.”

Simons started an architecture firm in 1966. His work includes Fountaingrove Inn, its Equus restaurant, Northpoint Corporate Center in southwest Santa Rosa and the senior wing at Finley Community Center. The company expanded into development and property management. That includes Stony Point Executive Offices, which will need a new operator.

Reach Jeff Quackenbush at jquackenbush@busjrnl.com or 707-521-4256.

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