Torchlight Lends $135M for Retail and Office Complex Along Pacific Coast Highway

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The owner of a long-anticipated, 122,324-square-foot retail and office campus in the high-end coastal enclave of Malibu, Calif., has landed a refinancing loan.

JLL (JLL) announced Monday that it facilitated a $135 million first-lien financing for The Cross Creek Ranch. The brokerage represented the borrower and developer, Pacific Equity Properties, in securing the five-year loan from Torchlight Investors.

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The project previously backed a $130 million loan originated three years ago from Related Fund Management, a subsidiary of Stephen Ross’s Related Companies, as Commercial Observer previously reported.

The project includes 10 low-rise buildings with 71,605 square feet of retail and 50,719 square feet of creative office space. The property spans 13 acres at 23465 Civic Center Way next to Santa Monica College’s Malibu campus, a quarter-mile off Pacific Coast Highway.

“We were enthused by the debt capital market’s demand for the property, fueled by the irreplaceable location and exceptional retail and office leasing velocity prior to certificate of occupancy,” Bryan Gordon, owner of Pacific Equity Properties, said in a statement Monday.

The development firm bought the property in 2017, according to reporting from the Santa Monica Daily Press and The Malibu Times, but the process of advancing such a project stems to 2000. Last summer, the city agreed to a settlement regarding the project’s compliance with a 2018 law on retail property of more than 10,000 square feet. That law restricts stores in such projects if they’re part of chains that have 10 or more locations.

“We anticipate that we will now open in the summer of 2024 because it takes time for tenants to go through the permitting process,” Gordon said in August 2023, following the settlement, per The Malibu Times. “First, they must go through planning clearance and planning approval, then they must obtain conditional use permits if they are required, which is generally for restaurants, then they have to obtain approval of their plans, do buildouts, and final walk-throughs. Finally, they must obtain a certificate of occupancy.”

The JLL Capital Markets team that facilitated the loan with Torchlight was led by John Marshall, Spencer Seibring, Allie Black and Tim Donald. The Manhattan-based Torchlight Investors team was led by Jon Stein.

“Torchlight looks forward to the new relationship with Pacific Equity Properties and seeing the asset through stabilization,” Stein said in a statement.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at gcornfield@commercialobserver.com.