Ethan Conrad goes to Redding to buy retail center for $4.7 million

For his latest purchase, Sacramento real estate investor Ethan Conrad went a little out of his typical target area — all the way to Redding.

After submitting a winning bid through an online auction, Conrad closed escrow last week on Cobblestone Shopping Center, a 122,091-square-foot property, for $4.7 million.

In an email, Conrad said Redding is a tight retail market, with vacancy below 6 percent.

“As evidence of what I’ve described above, we already have a 20,000-square-foot grocery store 10-year lease that we’re in the process of negotiating,” he said.

Conrad said Ethan Conrad Properties Inc. is also planning a remodeling and repositioning of the property, which he believed last sold for more than $20 million.

In that sale, however, occupancy was higher. The property is currently about 25 percent occupied, with a large anchor tenant space among those available. Current tenants include Perko’s Cafe, America’s Tire Co. and Goodyear Tire.

Bidders in the online auction were required to put up a $1 million nonrefundable deposit, Conrad said, eliminating many prospective buyers and increasing the chance for a good deal.

The center will benefit not only from the pending grocery store lease, according to Conrad, but also a Dignity Health wellness center campus that broke ground on neighboring land last week.

Conrad, a former commercial real estate broker who moved into property investment and redevelopment, is believed to be among the largest local owners of commercial properties in the Sacramento region.