Locally based Excel Trust Inc. has purchased La Costa Towne Center, a retail plaza in Carlsbad, for approximately $23.5 million.

A Feb. 29 company statement said the center, at 7710 El Camino Real, has approximately 121,000 square feet. Vons is the anchor tenant, with a lease in effect, although the grocer is no longer occupying the space.

Company officials said the property “presents an opportunity to re-tenant and redevelop portions of the center to create additional value.”

The Carlsbad purchase follows the firm’s Feb. 17 acquisition of EastChase Market Center, a 181,000-square-foot retail plaza in Montgomery, Ala., for approximately $24.7 million.

The retail-focused investment trust has headquarters in Rancho Bernardo and trades under the symbol EXL on the New York Stock Exchange. The company said it acquired approximately $255 million in properties and sold $40 million in properties during 2011.

-- Lou Hirsh