ESCONDIDO, CALIF. — Bridge Group Investments and Steerpoint Capital have acquired North County Mall in Escondido, about 30 miles north of San Diego. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) was the seller, according to the Escondido Times-Advocate. The sales price was undisclosed.
Situated on almost 83 acres, North County Mall totals nearly 1.3 million square feet. Tenants include Target, Macy’s, JC Penney, 24 Hour Fitness, Forever 21, H&M, Apple, Cheesecake Factory, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Black Angus Steakhouse, On the Border and more. The mall opened in 1986.
Although no plans were released for changes under the new ownership, a press release from the City of Escondido — which owns most of the land on which the mall rests — said the buyers “are eager to bring new investment and retail opportunities to the mall and are committed to working with and supporting the local community.”
The property is the fourth mall that Bridge Group Investments and affiliates have acquired in California over the past six months with support from Steerpoint Capital. Previous acquisitions include The Shops at Montebello in Montebello, Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale and Northridge Mall in Salinas.
Bridge Group Investments is the family office for the Mersho family, led by George Mersho and Ralph Mersho. Since its founding in 2004, the firm has invested more than $400 million in retail, industrial and multifamily real estate. The Mersho family opened Shoe Palace in 1993, growing the business from a single brick-and-mortar location to a chain of more than 170 stores across the Southwest.
Steerpoint Capital is an investment management firm led by Bo Okoroji, who previously served as the head of U.S. investments at URW and held multiple senior roles at Simon Property Group.
“Acquiring the North County Mall is especially significant for me, given my tenure at URW and how familiar I am personally with the asset,” says Okoroji. “Thanks to its location in Escondido along the I-15 and its leading retail, dining, fitness and entertainment offerings, we’re confident that the mall can be positioned as a vibrant community hub as well as a dominant player in the regional retail marketplace.”
The buyers have hired Spinoso Real Estate Group to oversee North County Mall and handle its management, leasing, redevelopment, operations and marketing. The privately held, New York-based real estate firm specializes in the management and leasing of large-scale enclosed shopping malls.
URW will continue to maintain its leasehold interest in the mall, which expires June 30, 2053, according to the Times-Advocate. The City of Escondido also leases directly to JC Penney and Costco, and has one location currently vacant, the former Nordstrom property. Macy’s owns and operates its own parcel.
— Kristin Harlow