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New owner at Bear Creek Plaza plans facade update

A six-state search for the right commercial property led Dan Tucci and his associates to the southeast corner of Biddle and East McAndrews roads.

More specifically, the longer Tucci examined Bear Creek Plaza, the better the 188,000-square-foot retail center on 16.3 acres looked.

Tucci, a former Eugene resident who now splits his time between Bend and San Diego, acquired the shopping center from a Southern California partnership for $24 million earlier this month.

Tucci, managing partner for Countryside Partners LLC, along with Bernie Bernheim and a silent partner, had to reinvest proceeds from a multifamily housing sale in Washington, to avoid capital gains.

"We sold a large number of apartments and were looking for retail property in the western United States," Tucci said.

In a period of eight to 10 months, he considered as many as 50 centers before focusing on Bear Creek Plaza, whose tenants include Bi-Mart, Big Lots and T.J. Maxx. The center had been on the market for $25 million to $28 million.

"This really stood out being a good value," Tucci said. "We love the location; it had a rock-solid history and the tenant mix had a strong appeal."

The center is fully leased, with its 26 tenants signed to varying-length leases into the 2020s. 

Pan Pacific Retail Properties bought the center for $13.1 million in 1998. When global player Kimco Realty Corp. acquired Pan Pacific in 2006, Bear Creek Center was a minuscule part of the deal. Kimco subsequently shed holdings that didn't fit into its broader plans, selling to Bear Creek Ventures LLC of Malibu, Calif., in 2007.

The sales price was lower than the asking price, Tucci said, because the buyers assumed a loan that couldn't be refinanced.

Tucci said $600,000 has been set aside for facade, parking lot and landscape improvements.

"Our motivation is to acquire property and bring it to its potential," Tucci said. "We're not looking to alter the tenant mix; right now we want to focus on the 1,000 linear feet in front of Bi-Mart and Dollar Tree and bring that building up to our standards."

Tucci made his first commercial investment 20 years ago when he bought Willamette Square in Eugene and has kept an eye on Northwest markets ever since. He manages a commercial center in Boise and the partnership is acquiring a retail center in Eagle, Idaho, but no further Medford-area investments are in the works.

"We typically hold our properties for 10 years, he said. "This will be enough for now."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.3,  and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.

Hugh and Susie Schoonover, of Gold Hill, leave Bi-Mart at the Bear Creek Plaza in Medford. Dan Tucci and his associates recently purchased the shopping center. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch