Construction Today - September/October 2017 - 70
Commercial | CENTERCAL PROPERTIES
CENTERCAL'S RETAIL DEVELOPMENTS ARE MORE THAN JUST PLACES TO SHOP. BY JIM HARRIS
CenterCal views the retail
centers it builds as assets to the
communities they are in.
red Bruning knows firsthand that a
real estate developer's perspective
on the properties they own can vary
greatly. During his 40-year career,
Bruning gained experience in several different styles of retail development.
After graduating law school in 1977,
Bruning worked for Sears Roebuck and Co.
[now Sears Holdings] for six years in its
transactional law and real estate development departments. Bruning then worked
for several retail development companies
including a Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based
company that grew from being a family-owned company to a publicly owned real
estate investment trust (REIT).
"Wall Street has a very different view of
real estate than a private company does," he
says. "A private developer looks at a retail
center as an asset for the community and
ascribes more importance to the quality of
the center and how it fits into the commu-
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017
nity instead of just looking at its size and
potential for asset growth."
In 1998, Bruning and partner Jean Paul
Wardy - an associate of Bruning's at the
public REIT - started CenterOak Properties,
a Western U.S.-based developer. Although
Bruning calls the company a great professional experience, CenterOak's capital
partner believed in taking a short-term,
closed-end approach to properties instead
of retaining and developing retail centers
for the long term.
Bruning and Wardy's community minded development philosophy led them to
establish CenterCal Properties in 2004. The
two found a like-minded capital investment
partner in the California State Teachers
Retirement System, which was seeking
long-term venture opportunities.
"We wanted to develop properties that
* Headquarters: El Segundo, Calif.
* Employees: 160
* Specia y: Retail
"We wanted to create places
where people could come back
ree to four times a week
as opposed to just once every
six mon s."
- Fred Bruning, co-founder
make a difference in the communities they
serve," Bruning says. "We feel the securitization of the industry had led to a lot of sameness among retail properties - they all look
alike, and have become one-dimensional
locations where you only come to shop. We
wanted to create places where people could
come back three to four times a week as
opposed to just once every six months."
Retail centers developed and owned
by CenterCal vary in size, but all typically
include different types of businesses. These
include grocery stores, fitness centers, mov-