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$65 million deal for Petaluma, Rohnert Park office buildings

A group of local investors have teamed with an international backer to pull off the largest acquisition of North Bay commercial real estate in recent years, paying $65 million for 14 office buildings in Petaluma and Rohnert Park.

In the deal, PB&J Acquisitions, a Bay Area corporation, and Investcorp, which trades on the Bahraini stock market, combined to buy nearly 841,000 square feet of office space along the Highway 101 corridor.

The properties, acquired from San Francisco-based RNM Properties, are home to a variety of prominent tenants, including Amy's Kitchen, CamelBak, Clover Stornetta Farms and Athleta, a division of Gap.

But they also include plenty of available space. The portfolio was about 74 percent occupied at time of the sale, said Bill Sumski, an attorney and partner in PB&J who splits his time between Petaluma and San Francisco.

"There is some leasing to do obviously," he said. "We have some big holes."

The new owners will put special emphasis on leasing out 1800 S. McDowell Blvd., a 73,000-square-foot building built in 2007 in Petaluma and never occupied, said Sumski, who described the property as the jewel in the portfolio.

"We certainly will be looking for marquee tenants to land there," he said.

The rental market for commercial real estate in Petaluma, which is home to all but one of the acquired properties, has shown recent signs of recovering from the collapse of the tech boom.

In 2009, office vacancies hit a high of about 42 percent in the city, but they have been trending down since.

At the end of 2011, they reached 31.3 percent, according to estimates from Keegan & Coppin, a Santa Rosa-based real estate firm.

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