January 24, 2022
By George Avalos | firstname.lastname@example.org | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: January 24, 2022 at 12:36 p.m. | UPDATED: January 24, 2022 at 5:10 p.m.
OAKLAND — The Rotunda Building, a century-old office building that is a landmark in downtown Oakland, has been bought by a local real estate investment group that becomes the majority owner of the property.
Rubicon Point Partners, through an affiliate, paid slightly more than $72 million for the building, documents filed on Jan. 24 with the Alameda County Recorder’s Office show.
The building is being called the “crown jewel” of Oakland’s skyline by its seller. The building is located at 300 Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland.
“We are honored and humbled to be the caretakers of the historic and beautiful Rotunda,” said Ani Vartanian, Rubicon Point’s co-managing partner. “We look forward to implementing an improvement plan that will honor its history but also modernize it to allow for a new generation of companies to thrive.”
The new owners, the Rubicon affiliate, also agreed to assume a 2019 loan of $21 million that was provided to the seller, according to the county documents that were filed on Monday.
The combination of the purchase price and the assumed mortgage debt would bring the total deal package to around $93 million.
The deal gives Rubicon Point majority ownership in the building. The seller, a group headed by real estate executives Leonard Epstein and Phil Tagami, retains a minority interest. The buyer and seller wouldn’t disclose what percentage of the property each owns in the wake of the deal. That means the $93 million transaction package wouldn’t necessarily reflect the full value of the building.
One key goal for the new owners: find a way to use and improve the adjacent outdoor plaza to benefit the Rotunda Building itself.
“We are especially excited to work with key stakeholders to activate Frank Ogawa Plaza and integrate it with the building’s indoor space,” Vartanian said.
The endeavor envisioned by Rubicon Point Partners could create a unique revamp of the complex.
“This indoor-outdoor environment is rare in urban settings like downtown Oakland,” Vartanian said.
The Rotunda Building was constructed in 1912 and originally designed by Bay Area architect Charles Dickey, who fitted a dramatic elliptical glass dome in the interior atrium.
“The Rotunda Building is one of the best local examples of Beaux Arts-inspired commercial architecture from the early 20th Century,” a newsletter distributed in 2002 by the California Preservation Foundation stated.
A National Historic Landmark, the Rotunda Building was originally designed 110 years ago as a Kahns Department store. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake extensively damaged the building.
“The Oakland Rotunda,” is “known as the crown jewel of downtown Oakland,” California Capital & Investment Group, whose affiliate sold the building to Rubicon, stated in a post on the building’s website.
The eight-story building totals 325,000 square feet, according to information provided by Rubicon Point Partners and California Capital & Investment.
In 2000, the sellers launched a $70 Million renovation that included $12 million in seismic upgrades.
“We selected Rubicon because of their track record in transforming historic assets and are confident that they will be great custodians of this Oakland jewel,” said Tagami, a managing partner with the affiliate that sold the building.