California real estate firm starts isle buys
It buys the Aina Haina Shopping Center and Local Motion's flagship
The acquisition of two Oahu commercial properties is just the first entree into the market for American Commercial Equities LLC, which is negotiating to purchase multiple high-profile retail centers around the state.
The Malibu-based boutique real estate firm, owned by the family that founded Public Storage Inc., bought the 62,000-square-foot Aina Haina Shopping Center in East Honolulu for an undisclosed price and Local Motion Inc.'s 10,000-square-foot flagship store in Waikiki for $15 million late last month.
It also has an agreement to purchase six vacant parcels measuring 26,000 square feet next to the Local Motion property.
But American Commercial's president calls those the first of many transactions in Hawaii.
The company, which specializes in retail acquisitions and management, is led by founder by B. Wayne Hughes Jr., the son of Public Storage billionaire Bradley Wayne Hughes.
"Wayne has an affinity towards Hawaii and we would like to do more there," said Marvin Lotz, president of American Commercial, adding that Hughes found most of the Public Storage properties in Honolulu.
The company also is looking to the neighbor islands to expand its portfolio, which includes retail centers in Beverly Hills, Melrose Place and other prominent districts in Southern California.
The family-owned company is a long-term holder of real estate, Lotz said. "These are properties that are going into the Hughes family estate and will be there for a long time," he said.
The company plans to renovate the aging Aina Haina complex, which opened in 1950 and is anchored by a Foodland Supermarket.
"We're not looking to change the nature of the center," Lotz said. "We want it to be very community oriented. We're not looking to bring in big-box retailers."
Meanwhile, American Commercial is leasing back to Local Motion its flagship building at 1958 Kalakaua Ave. and plans to add more retail space to the surrounding area.
The company's local agent is CB Richard Ellis, which will be managing the Aina Haina center.