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Rouse Properties to enhance Fig Garden Village

Fig Garden Village shopping center in northwest Fresno was sold to New York-based Rouse Properties for $106.1 million.
Fig Garden Village shopping center in northwest Fresno was sold to New York-based Rouse Properties for $106.1 million. ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

The new owner of Fig Garden Village in northwest Fresno shared some thoughts on Monday about buying the upscale shopping center, but remained tight-lipped about future plans including new tenants.

Rouse Properties, a New York-based owner and operator of enclosed regional malls and retail centers, announced June 4 that it had acquired the the center, at Palm and Shaw avenues, for $106.1 million. Company officials were not available for comment until this week.

Donahue Schriber, a private real estate investment trust company in Costa Mesa owned the property for 11 years.

“We’ve already put feelers out to a lot of our national relationships and there is high interest” in Fig, said Brian Harper, Rouse’s chief operating officer.

The sale of the lifestyle center caught some by surprise. Fig Garden Village was marketed for sale by the investment brokerage firm and “we immediately looked at it,” Harper said.

The center is Rouse’s 35th mall in 21 states. It owns six other shopping malls in California including Bayshore Mall in Eureka, Chula Vista Center in Chula Vista and Mt. Shasta Mall in Redding, which the company bought in February.

The company is renovating NewPark Mall in Newark, near San Francisco, into a retail, entertainment and dining destination. New additions there include a move theater; Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, the country-western music themed restaurant; and John’s Incredible Pizza.

The plan at Fig Garden is to attract high quality retailers and increase the frequency of local shoppers, Harper said.

Without sharing details on what might happen at Fig, as Harper called the center, the company has in the past reconfigured retail space to accommodate retailers. It has made exterior and interior renovations to its centers which include adding soft seating and new flooring. Rouse has also installed free Wi-Fi for customers.

“We realize what an important gem this is to the community,” Harper said. “We will only look to enhance that gem and make it shine.”

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