A two-building office complex in the heart of Sorrento Mesa has been snatched up by Salt Lake City-based real estate investment firm Bridge Investment Group.
The group’s office fund Wednesday closed on the 97,316 square-foot Cornerstone Plaza for an undisclosed sum. The buildings, built in 1986, are located at 6160 and 6170 Cornerstone Ct E and are due for a $5.2 million makeover that includes cosmetic interior and exterior upgrades, as well as significant landscaping improvements.
“We like to buy properties, where if you do something to them, then you can improve the performance of the properties,” said David McCleve, the Bridge executive in charge of buying and managing office assets in San Diego and other regions.
Bridge is a privately held company that manages $13.5 billion in assets. While it has been boosting its office portfolio over the past year — in 2018 it acquired more than 7 million square feet of office space in the U.S. — the Cornerstone Plaza purchase marks the firm’s first foray into the San Diego office market. Bridge, McCleve said, had previously been looking at the region for years, but it had been priced out of the properties it wanted.
“We’ve been interested in San Diego for quite awhile — and continue to be interested,” he said. “If you look at the statistics, the statistics tell you that it’s a good market. Vacancies continue to drop, rents continue to rise and companies want to be there.”
The firm settled on a smaller-than-normal acquisition because of the property’s potential. Currently 68 percent leased, Cornerstone Plaza will remain as standard office stock, but get a fresh coat of paint and suite-level upgrades during a 12-month-long renovation process. The end goal is to keep existing tenants happy, but also appeal to up-and-coming tech companies that need 5,500 to 16,500 square feet of space.
Meanwhile, Sorrento Valley and Sorrento Mesa office buildings have become hot commodities for real estate investment groups given their proximity to technology and science firms — and their workers. Life science facilities with lab-ready space have commanded the highest interest and prices. Last year, for instance, the owner of an 82,000 square-foot life science in Sorrento Mesa got more than triple what it originally paid for the property.