By Meghan Hall
A developer that specialize in large-scale projects across the Bay Area has made a strategic purchase, acquiring the land beneath a retail center in San Jose. In a transaction that closed on May 24th, Orton Development Inc. acquired property at 775 Ridder Drive for $41.75 million. The seller is affiliated with the Castle family and Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, based in Hawaii.
Orton acquired only the land–but not the buildings–beneath the 11.6 acre retail center. The property is anchored by a Lowe’s Home Improvement, and is located just off of Interstate 880. Directly across Ridder Park Drive is another shopping center anchored by Ross Dress for Less, HomeGoods and Ulta Beauty. Other employers, such as Lumentum and the Santa Clara County Office of Education, are also nearby.
Currently, Lowe’s holds a ground lease for the property, as the home improvement chain occupies a 170,000 square foot building on the site. The property also includes a 626-space parking lot.
The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation was first established in 1962 and remains one of the largest private foundations based in Hawaii. The foundation actively works to close the achievement gap in public education in Hawaii, restore nearshore marine life populations and build up Windward Oahu communities through investment into the region.
It is unclear what the land’s new owner–Orton–will do with the property. However, Orton, which was founded in 1984, has a history of major development across the Bay Area. The firm is currently working to help revamp San Francisco’s Historic Pier 70 in partnership with the Port of San Francisco. The eight-building office and industrial portfolio totals 300,000 square feet on five acres. Orton began construction in mid-2015 after signing a 66-year ground lease with the Port.
Orton is also working to reposition the Henry J. Kaiser Center in Oakland. Again, Orton was awarded a long-term ground lease by City officials prior to working on the project. Orton is working to revamp the 1,900 seat Calvin Simmons Theatre that is part of the property while converting the remaining 6,000 square feet to commercial space.
According to its website, the firm’s projects total over 20 million square feet, spanning eighty properties. Its portfolio includes office, industrial, and live-work space. Orton is actively acquiring properties and is currently targeting those greater than 100,000 square feet.