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‘The Northridge Mall has Significant Potential’: Black-Owned Investment Firm Acquires California Shopping Mall

The Northridge Mall in Salinas, California, the only shopping center in the Monterey Bay area, is getting revived by Black-owned investment firm Steerpoint Capital.

Steerpoint Capital is a boutique commercial real estate investment and advisory firm that aims to execute value-add and opportunistic real estate strategies. It was founded in 2022 by Bo Okoroji, the company’s managing director, who has more than a decade of financial and real estate experience.

Bo Okoroji, founder of Steerpoint Capital

The Northridge Mall Deal

Steerpoint partnered with Bridge Group Investments to acquired the shopping center. The market value for Northridge Mall in 2022-2023 was $156,518,783, according to CommercialCafe. The 60.7-acre mall was built in 1974. Finurah contacted Steerpoint for clarification on the terms of the partnership; the company said they do not make public terms of their details.

“Redevelop, reposition, reimage,” are the words of Okoroji’s mission when he created Steerpoint Capital. Prior to striking out on his own, Okoroji served as the Head of U.S. Investments at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. Throughout his career, he has participated in more than $11 billion worth of commercial real estate transactions, Essence reported.

“The Northridge Mall has significant potential, thanks to its location in the vibrant community of Salinas, combined with its top-notch retail, dining, and entertainment offerings,” said Okoroji in a news release. 

The acquisition of the mall is a risky venture, considering how COVID-19 has affected, and still affecting, in-person shopping in an already increasingly outdated method of purchasing items.

But Okoroji sees the potential. “We believe it has the potential to become a dominant asset in the regional retail arena and the broader marketplace. Bridge Group Investments brings decades of retail expertise and a proven track record of generating significant returns within the retail space. Its partnership will be invaluable to elevating the Northridge Mall,” he said.

Commercial real estate services company Jones Lang LaSalle and Placer.ai, which tracks foot traffic at retail spaces, both reported that suburban retail traffic has been slowed down, and that foot traffic at indoor malls in September 2021 was down 6.5 percent. But tis was an increase from six months prior, when indoor mall foot traffic was down 21 percent.

“After growing our family business from one brick-and-mortar store to more than 170 locations across the country, we know what it takes to drive success in retail—and have full confidence in Steerpoint Capital’s strategy,” said George Mersho, managing partner of Bridge Group Investments. “Expectations for retail spaces are rapidly changing, and with the right approach, we believe there is an opportunity to revitalize existing properties like the Northridge Mall and create future returns.”

About the Northridge Mall

The Salinas shopping center has retail tenants such as Macy’s, JC Penneys, Round1, Planet Fitness, Hobby Lobby, Old Navy, H&M, Best Buy, and more. 

Salinas is a relatively small town with an average household income in Salinas is more than $77,500 with a poverty rate of little above 19 percent, according to World Population Review, with a population of 167,472.

In 2021, the previous owner of Northridge Owner L.P., Starwood Capital Group, had to sue one of its tenants, a bakery called Sherri’s Cookies, for owing just about $114,000.

According to the lawsuit, the cookie shop owed back rent between March 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, and this pandemic-owed rent is a breach of their leasing agreement. Sherri’s Cookies has been in business in the mall since 2005.

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