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Fidelis In The News

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DeVargas Center owners acquire College Plaza shopping center

January 24, 2022

The owners of DeVargas Center now also own the College Plaza shopping center at Cerrillos Road and St. Michael’s Drive.

Houston-based Fidelis Realty Partners acquired the 155,170-square-foot College Plaza on Sept. 24 from Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Waterbury Properties for an undisclosed amount.

Waterbury had owned the shopping center with Ace Hardware, Office Depot, Petco, Burlington (and before that Hobby Lobby) and Jambo Café since 1994. 

Waterbury had listed the 14-acre College Plaza for sale in March with Institutional Property Advisors, and Fidelis saw it as an ideal property. Fidelis has owned the 252,576-square-foot DeVargas Center since 2009, said Katy Fitzgerald, Fidelis’ senior project manager in New Mexico.

“It’s really all the things we are looking for in a property,” Fitzgerald said about College Plaza. “It has excellent visibility, fantastic accessibility. It’s the right opportunity for us.”

The sale also includes the pads with Weck’s and Baja Tacos, but not the Dion’s, which owns its property.

Fitzgerald’s realm has multiplied exponentially since summer, when DeVargas Center was her only charge. Now she also manages College Plaza, The Plaza at Cottonwood in Rio Rancho, which Fidelis acquired Dec. 30, and she took on management late last year of Loretto Towne Center in Las Cruces, also owned by Fidelis.

“I’m freaking out on a daily basis,” she said.

Fidelis took over College Plaza just weeks after Burlington opened Sept. 3 in 30,700 square feet of former Hobby Lobby space. Another 24,587 square feet of the former Hobby Lobby space remain vacant, but Fitzgerald believes she may have a tenant within weeks. The center has two other small vacancies at 4,000 and 2,400 square feet.

Waterbury Properties principal John Waterbury said filling half the Hobby Lobby space took two years. He has owned his company since 1981, and his partners in the College Plaza property are older, too.

 

“Our partnership was aging,” Waterbury said about selling College Plaza. “We didn’t want to go through the permitting and construction again.”

Waterbury said a number of entities submitted offers for College Plaza, and Fidelis looked the most reasonable.

“We felt they had the best likelihood of closing [a purchase],” Waterbury said. “They already know the market.”

Fitzgerald said the College Plaza name will remain.

“We will put in full-time housekeeping, janitorial,” Fitzgerald said. “Our next big shift is going to be full-time security.”

Fidelis intends a similar mix of local, regional and national tenants for College Plaza as is in place at DeVargas Center, which is mostly local tenants.

“We have no interest in replacing local with national,” she said.

Waterbury Properties over the decades has divested from 23 properties in California, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Arizona. These included College Plaza and 218 Montezuma St. in Santa Fe; and Zuni San Mateo Center, Hollywood Video and 333 San Mateo Blvd. in Albuquerque.

Since 2014, Waterbury had only six properties, selling four since. The two that remain are the Silver City Center in Silver City, N.M., and the Orchard Shopping Center in Loveland, Colo.

“I like New Mexico,” said Waterbury, who visits Silver City on occasion. “I have very good tenants [in Silver City], no turnover and it’s 100 percent leased.”

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