Horton Plaza’s 900,000 square foot downtown retail center was purchased for $175 million, according to information filed with the county assessor’s office.
The plaza, which opened in 1985, was sold Thursday to real estate investment firm Stockdale Capital Partners, as first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Four deeds were recorded, transferring portions of the property to four different LLCs — SCP Horton Owner 1, 2, 3 and 4 LLC — according to county records, which were filed late Friday afternoon.
The sales price was not disclosed by Stockdale, but a total purchase price can be calculated using the documentary transfer tax paid by the developer.
As the center’s new owner, Stockdale envisions the plaza as an ultra-modern office campus geared toward top technology firms. The developer is calling the future work site, “The Campus at Horton” and plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars more into its transformation.
Stockdale paid a reasonable price for the property, said Nathan Moeder, principal of London Moeder Advisors. Moeder based his assessment on the total development potential, which includes the 900,000 square-foot plaza and a 1.5 million square-foot tower that the real estate firm may consider for future phases.
“It’s a fair price given how much you can develop on the property and its location,” he said.
The existing site contract, which stipulates that the plaza maintain 600,000 square feet of retail space, likely wouldn’t have factored too much into negotiations, according to Moeder. He anticipates that Stockdale will be able to successfully work with the city to alter the retail requirements in favor of the firm’s office ambitions.
“It’s such a special piece of property in the heart of downtown,” Moeder said.
Horton Plaza debuted with an insular Disneyland-meets-Italian-hills vibe that separated it from the surrounding neighborhood, which was considered unsafe at the time. It was seen as a model of urban development until its fortress-like design proved to be a barrier to residents who arrived after the region’s urban renaissance. In 2015, Horton drew 9.6 million customers, 27 percent less than the average of previous owner-operator Westfield’s five other local malls,