FREMONT -- Like many objects of desire, the thriving shopping center known as Pacific Commons has attracted a deep-pocketed suitor. In this case, it is a global real estate titan that has come a-calling.
Heitman, a Chicago-based investment company with real estate holdings around the world, has bought the 80-acre outdoor mall, not including The Block, the newest addition to Pacific Commons.
Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Representatives of Heitman and Catellus each declined to comment on the sale.
Major changes are not expected to Pacific Commons, said Christina Briggs, the city's economic development manager. "It will remain the strong retail center that it is," she said.
Pacific Commons opened in 2004, and is anchored by Lowe's, Kohl's, DSW and several chain restaurants. It has enjoyed an ongoing growth trend, recently drawing stores such The Men's Wearhouse and T.J. Maxx/HomeGoods, increasing its number of tenants to 51.
The shopping center's ability to lure new storefronts likely boosted its allure to buyers, as several bidders competed for four months before the deal was completed, city officials said.
"It was my understanding that there was a lot of interest in this asset," Briggs said.
Catellus, meanwhile, will continue to own and manage The Block, a 25-acre retail zone next to Pacific Commons. The Block features Target and a cinema multiplex. Catellus officials have said they are in talks with at least one more store that will fill The Block's available 75,000 square feet of retail, but terms have not yet been finalized.
Catellus was represented in the sale by Mark Damiani and Nicholas Bicardo at HFF, a San Francisco commercial brokerage firm.
Fremont business officials described the deal as a byproduct of two companies carrying out their distinct business models. Catellus develops land before selling it, and Heitman is known for investing in existing businesses and managing them, said Cindy Bonior, president and CEO of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.
That makes Heitman a better candidate to run Pacific Commons in its next phase, she said. Heitman plans to boost sales with a more hands-on management style, Bonior said, such as placing a management employee at the mall's location, next to Auto Mall Parkway and Interstate 880.
"Their model is to go into shopping centers and promote them really well, and do things to help the merchants become successful," she said.
Bonior said Heitman officials already have reached out to the chamber and other Fremont business leaders, explaining their vision for the retail zone.
"They really want to be involved in the community and connect with businesses throughout the city, not just in Pacific Commons" she said. "We need to add successful shopping areas and keep tax dollars in Fremont. If this is the way to do it, then (the sale) is a positive thing."
The Pacific Commons deal was the area's second major transaction this year. In May, Integral Communities, a Newport Beach developer, purchased 153 acres south of Pacific Commons, once the site of the Oakland Athletics' defunct plan to build a new ballpark in Fremont.
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.