(Source: Forbes): Ellen Barber – Westgate Entertainment District, billed as “one of the most successful mixed-use entertainment destinations in the Southwest region,” has a new owner. GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and his company YAM Properties LLC just purchased the mixed-use center in Phoenix’s West Valley for $133 million.
YAM Properties is the real estate investment and development arm of the Scottsdale billionaire’s conglomerate YAM Worldwide Inc. The seller was New York-based real estate investment trust iStar. CBRE represented both parties. Westgate was on the market for less than two months.
Even without matching iStar’s original asking price of $142 million, the deal is one of the largest retail real estate transactions in Arizona’s history. Reuters reports that YAM acquired Westgate without taking on any debt.
The 76-acre property, located just east of the Loop 101 on Glendale Avenue in Glendale, includes 533,000 square feet of retail, office and residential space, as well as 33 acres of entitled land. Westgate is adjacent to both Gila River Arena, home of the Arizona Coyotes hockey team, and the University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.
CBRE reports that the sale included “five retail buildings, two five-story mixed-use buildings and three single-tenant restaurants. Anchor retail tenants include a 20-screen AMC Theatre, Dave & Buster’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Yard House.”
Originally developed in 2006 as “Westgate City Center” by Steve Ellman, the property struggled for several years before falling into foreclosure in 2011. Lender iStar repossessed and retained the property, later bringing in popular restaurant tenants, significantly reducing the center’s office vacancy, and luring other businesses to the area.
Westgate Entertainment District now hosts the state’s largest AMC Theatres multiplex, the WaterDance Plaza outdoor concert and event venue, and 76 luxury loft-style multifamily units. The center’s Buffalo Wild Wings is the brand’s top location in the Southwest, according to the Phoenix Business Journal. Current tenants in Westgate’s 159,000 square feet of Class A office space include CenturyLink, Terminix, Cardinal Health, Devry University, RING and Lockheed Martin.
With the addition of Westgate, Parsons and YAM Properties now own and manage more than 2.5 million square feet of commercial property in the state, including three other developments in north Glendale, according to the Business Journal. YAM’s commercial real estate holdings in Arizona are valued at more than $630 million.
Forbes estimates Parsons’ net worth to be $2.8 billion.
A major philanthropist as well as one of Phoenix’s wealthiest residents, Parsons says he wants to grow Westgate Entertainment District by partnering with other companies. YAM has a five-year development plan under consideration that would include a boutique hotel as well as additional housing, office space and specialty entertainment, reports Reuters. Westgate is also expected to benefit from the 2023 Super Bowl, which will be hosted by the Cardinals.
Said Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps in a prepared statement, “We see tremendous benefit to having local Arizona ownership and are excited to provide the signature level of service needed to help bring YAM Properties’ visionary development plan to fruition.”