Staff Writer-Sacramento Business Journal
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Commercial real estate investor Ethan Conrad said he isn’t finding as many bargains as he was a few years ago, but that’s not stopping his buying machine from staying busy.

This week, he’ll close escrow on more than 170,000 square feet of office, industrial and retail properties, including the Sunset Park retail center in Rocklin tomorrow.

“These properties are all ‘value added,’” Conrad said in an email. “They all have occupancies of approximately 50 percent or less and candidly, they’re all pretty good deals.”

Sunset Park, at 2201 to 2251 Sunset Boulevard, totals about 45,500 square feet with several available suites. The purchase price was about $6 million, according to Conrad.

For that property, Ethan Conrad Properties will pursue a light remodeling project. such as repainting and landscaping clean-up, then will work to get new leases, Conrad said.

Escrow is scheduled to close today on the other two properties: The 67,700-square-foot Mayhew Tech office buildings at 9323 and 9333 Tech Center Drive in Sacramento, and the 70,000-square-foot industrial building at 8390 Gerber Road in Sacramento.

Conrad said the Gerber Road property, which he bought for about $1.3 million, includes both a note sale and underlying property, and some small remodeling is planned. The two Mayhew Tech buildings, bought for about $3 million, also will undergo small remodeling and be added to the portfolio of office buildings Ethan Conrad Properties already has for lease on Tech Center Drive.

“Basically we’ll be placing all of these properties in good, attractive condition so that we’ll be able to lease them hopefully quickly,” he said of this week’s purchases.

A year ago, Conrad said he expected bargain properties for purchase to become scarcer as the market continued to recover. While that’s proven true, he said, there are still cost-effective options to pick up, particularly if they’re not well leased.

Overall, Conrad’s firm is on pace to acquire both more buildings and total square footage this year than any in its history.

In recent weeks, Conrad also acquired a 15,000-square-foot retail center in Elk Grove at Laguna and Bruceville roads, and Arcade Square, a 76,000-square-foot retail center anchored by Grocery Outlet on Watt Avenue. The latter was bought for about $10 million, according to Conrad.