Ethan Conrad buys El Dorado Hills retail center

Ethan Conrad Properties Inc. has closed escrow on a troubled retail property in one of the wealthiest areas in the region.

The real estate investment firm announced it completed the purchase Tuesday of La Borgata at Serrano, a 62,183-square-foot retail center in El Dorado Hills that was foreclosed in 2012.

“Really, it’s just a classic value-add opportunity,” said Chase Burke, a retail specialist with Ethan Conrad Properties. “It needed an owner and the right leasing team in there.”

Burke said the company planned to address deferred maintenance on the property, notable for its Italian village-style architecture. Since going into escrow earlier this month, Ethan Conrad Properties has signed upscale furniture store Bella Home Decor for one space, and has three other pending leases. The company also has a potential sale for one of the six buildings in the center, and is planning to remodel to draw attention to storefronts. Ethan Conrad Properties also plans to improve signage and landscaping on the property.

The purchase price was not immediately available. However, the company apparently submitted the winning bid in an online auction of the property earlier this month. Bids for that auction started at $4 million, and the final purchase price also included a 5 percent transaction fee.

La Borgata, built in 2003, fell into default in 2009 because of increasing expenses and a slump in leasing. The property had an outstanding loan balance of $11.7 million when it fell into foreclosure. The news release said the loan balance was significantly less than Ethan Conrad’s purchase price.

On 8.53 acres at 3901-3911 Park Drive, La Borgata has 41,000 square feet of retail space and 20,000 square feet of office space. A leasing flier for the property shows about 10,000 square feet of available space, but it’s not clear what kind of space that is.

Read more here.