Commercial real estate investors Scott and Krissie Douglas have always had a soft spot for Tucson.
After meeting at Sabino High School in the 1970s, their careers took them both out of town, and they reconnected in Los Angeles in 1990 — 10 years after graduation.
“It took 10 years to get back together,” Scott Douglas laughed, noting they’d had only one date in high school.
After marrying in 1992, the couple, both 58, raised three children and returned to Tucson in 2017.
They had already made some investments in Tucson commercial real estate, along with markets in Southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Among their local properties are Cambridge Corporate Center at Campbell Avenue and River Road, Palomino Plaza on Swan and Fort Lowell roads, the former Five Palms restaurant on Skyline and Sunrise and the Williams Centre on Broadway and Craycroft Road.
“In my world it’s very much an overlooked submarket,” Scott Douglas said. “It’s such a gem.”
The couple said the University of Arizona and the Tucson-area workforce validated their decision to keep investing locally.
They have bought more than 1 million square feet of commercial space in 14 properties to the tune of over $200 million.
“We found great architects and contractors,” Scott Douglas said. “The more we got involved, the more we liked it.”
They have stayed with the buildings as landlords and say the ones they chose were based on what they saw as potential.
“Any building that we felt could be turned into something special despite being undernourished for years,” Scott Douglas said. “That felt like an opportunity for us.”
Some people question their decision to keep investing in office and retail properties during a pandemic that has impacted both markets.
“We’re constantly asked the question as to what will happen post-pandemic, people saying, ‘We’re not going to need offices, movie theaters or classrooms,’ ” Scott Douglas said. “We don’t subscribe to that because work is more efficient from the office and those who are able to provide a safe work environment will encourage employees to return to work.”
As they have settled into their new/old home in Tucson, the couple say they will continue to look for investment opportunities to help the local economy.
“I can’t see stopping what we’re doing,” Scott Douglas said. “I see friends my age who are thinking of slowing down, and I want to keep going and find new opportunities.”