Grocery-, Pharmacy-Anchored Centers are Bread and Butter for Small SoCal Developer

Even in an economy as unsettled as we’re currently going through, people buy food and medication, and for Newport Beach, Calif.–based Marinita Development, that’s the engine that keeps this small but established company chugging along.  The developer’s The Shops at Sycamore Creek, a $42 million, 94,000-square-foot supermarket/drug-anchored shopping center fronting I-15 in Corona, Calif., in San Bernardino County, just broke ground on its third building. Nearly 80 percent preleased, the 11.8-acre, six-building project is expected to begin opening next fall.  The anchor tenants are a Vons “Lifestyle” supermarket, Vons Fuel Station and CVS/Pharmacy. The buildings range from 4,000 to 48,000 square feet and other tenants include Wells Fargo, UPS Store, Subway, a dry cleaner and a dental office.  Marinita is 85 percent preleased on a 26,400-square-foot convenience center, also under construction, in Riverside, Calif. Orangewood Centre, is at Van Buren Blvd. and Dauchy Ave. in the Orangecrest master plan area and is expected to open this summer.  Its four buildings comprise two at the back of the 2.7-acre site, with tenants Firestone Tire and Kragen Auto Parts, while tenants in the two buildings facing the intersection include 7 Eleven, Subway, a coffee shop, a dry cleaner and a nail salon. “Our sweet spot is grocery-anchored centers.” Marinita president J. Scott Fawcett told CPN, and the company’s typical strategy is to develop and hold. For example, Marinita still owns an Albertsons-anchored center they built in Las Vegas in 1985, and in addition recently paid off the 30-year mortgage on the company’s first-ever development project, a multi-tenant industrial property in Huntington Beach, Calif.  Marinita currently has about eight projects in the development pipeline, Fawcett said, though everything now requires substantial preleasing. “We’re not building anything on spec.”  The next project in the company’s pipeline, a joint venture with Regency Centers Corp., will be a retail center in La Quinta, Calif., anchored by a CVS drug store and a Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, the newish, America-only format from British grocery giant Tesco. Ground will be broken in June or July, and a second phase will be developed as the market permits.