Rio Ranch Leases 45k sf Retail Space in Fontana
Hispanic grocery store chain Rio Ranch Markets has leased a 45k sf retail space at Southridge Plaza Shopping Center in the city of Fontana. The value of the 10-year lease is undisclosed.

Built in 1991, Southridge Plaza Shopping Center is located at 11613-11683 Cherry Ave, at the northwest corner of Cherry Ave and Live Oak Ave. The property contains 120.2k sf of retail space. Tenants at the center include Rite Aid, Auto Zone, and McDonalds.

The space Rio Ranch Markets has leased was previously occupied by Ralphs, which had occupied it since 1991. Ralphs’ lease expired September 30, 2011. Rio Ranch Markets will begin reconfiguring and rebuilding the space in order to open the new store at Southridge Plaza during the second quarter of 2012. Rio Ranch Markets is a local company, with its headquarters in Riverside, and operates over 10 stores.

Argent Retail Advisors’ Founder Terry Bortnick represented both the property owner, Mabela, LLC, and the tenant in the transaction. This transaction marks the second significant lease transaction for a major Hispanic grocery chain completed by Argent Retail Advisors and Bortnick in the Inland Empire during the past five months. In June, Cardenas committed to another former Ralphs space, measuring 32k sf, at Vineyard Plaza in Ontario.

The city of Fontana is located in San Bernardino County within the Inland Empire, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles. With a population of approximately 200,000, it has become a regional transportation hub due to its direct access to Interstates 10 and 15 and State Route 210.

Speaking about the transaction with Rio Ranch, Bortnick said, “Because this center is such a neighborhood destination, we needed to find a grocer that understands the local demographics and would provide a shopping experience that caters to the local residents.” He added that, “The owners wanted Rio Ranch because of their strong brand awareness in this region, the first class way they operate their stores and their ability to generate huge sales.”

He noted that given the ”mainstream” nature of Ralphs’ merchandising offerings, the new lease with Rio Ranch should provide a merchandise mix that is much more exciting to the consumers in the neighborhood, who are now over 70% Hispanic, which will result in higher sales. Additionally, a tenant such as Rio Ranch will help to increase the demand for the other space in the center, since there is a group of small in-line shops who piggyback off of the traffic Rio Ranch and other Hispanic grocers generate, and several of them follow the grocer to its new locations.

Bortnick added, ”As leases in our spaces roll over, we look forward to working with these supporting tenants in the future.”

Within the past year, Argent has completed dozens of lease sin the Inland Empire for spaces ranging from small shops to large boxes. These transactions have included: TJ Maxx (23.8k sf), Bravo Bargain (17.5k sf), Mensland (11.7k sf), Fashion Q (7k sf) and Chase (3.5k sf) at Palm Court in Fontana; Froogles (17.5k sf) and Goodwill (13k sf) at Colton Courtyard in Colton; and Cardenas (32k sf), California Veterinary Specialists (10k sf) and Brandon’s Diner (6.1k sf) at Vineyard Plaza in Ontario.

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