Rockwood sells stake in retail JV

Retail developer Vestar traded Rockwood for AEW as its partner in an Arizona retail joint venture.

Rockwood Capital sold its stake in a Tempe, Arizona shopping center after a five-year hold. Retail developer Vestar Development bought out Rockwood as its joint venture partner in the ownership of Tempe Marketplace, a shopping center in Tempe, Arizona, and subsequently has acquired the 1.3 million-square-foot property in a new joint venture with AEW Capital Management for $367 million. In December 2010, Phoenix-based Vestar bought its original partner, DLJ/Credit Suisse, out of the retail center they jointly owned for three years and purchased the property in a new joint venture with Rockwood for $280 million.

Rockwood and Vestar have partnered on a number of other real estate deals. In a $120 million July deal, Vestar bought Rockwood out of a suburban Las Vegas retail property that the two purchased in foreclosure four years ago for $79 million. The firms have also invested together in shopping centers in California and Arizona.

“Rockwood has been an exemplary capital partner for us,” said Rick Kuhle, Vestar’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “We look forward to working with them on future ventures.”

Rockwood planned to hold the Tempe property for five years then exit. The open-air mall includes retail stores, a movie theater and dining. Major tenants in the fully-occupied space include Best Buy, Dave and Busters, Barnes and Noble and Target.

The new joint venture comes as the greater Phoenix area continues to heat up. DTZ, a commercial real estate services firm now owned by Cushman & Wakefield, said in a 2015 forecast that full job recovery is expected by late 2016 or early 2017. Commercial real estate is on a three-year upswing, the report said, buoyed by higher wages and population growth.