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La Kretz Innovation Campus in Cleantech Corridor Secures Final Part of Financing, Set to Open in 2015

10 Jan 2014, 7:33 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

An initiative that promises to reignite the tech sector in L.A. recently received the go-ahead as financing for the project is finally in place. Thanks to U.S. Bank, the La Kretz Innovation Campus is now closer to reality as the last piece of the financial puzzle has been locked in. The banking giant has secured $14 million in New Markets Tax Credit for the La Kretz development project, which when completed will consist of a total investment of around $46 million. The project has received wide support from local officials, especially Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti.

The cleantech industry hub will take shape in L.A.’s established Cleantech Corridor, namely at 5th and Hewitt Streets. The facility aims at attracting young professionals in the field with a look at aiding the community as it becomes a hub for green industries in the city. The project is being financed in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Clearinghouse CDFI, Consortium America, Los Angeles Development Fund, and Urban Research Park CDE, as well as a sizable donation from Mort La Kretz, after whom the project was named.

When completed, in early 2015, the cleantech incubator will hold up to 40 clean tech companies, and it will create around 600 new jobs in one of the fastest growing sectors. The campus will include a 30,000 square foot facility, as well as demonstration centers, R&D labs, conference facilities, work force training facilities and additional space for companies that will be part of the cleantech hub.

The local support of the innovation campus comes as a result of its central role in the city’s current strategy for economic growth, the development of the Cleantech Corridor being one of the priorities of the local administration. Projects such as the La Kretz campus will attract new, high-paying jobs to an L.A. submarket where the focus is shifting to solving environmental problems and contributing to research going on around the globe.

Rendering courtesy of  laincubator.org 



Record-Breaking Land Deal Completed in Central L.A., Set to Become the Site of New LEED-Certified Industrial Complex

3 Jan 2014, 3:05 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The Los Angeles real estate market recorded a milestone recently as the largest land deal in over a decade in the central area of the city was completed when Pacific Industrial, LLC acquired a large plot of land from the City of Bell. The purchase was announced by the local office of commercial real estate services provider, CBRE.

The buyer paid the City of Bell a purchase fee of $44 million for the 39 acres that are currently entitled for 840,390 square feet of mixed-use space. The site formerly served as the home of the World War II Cheli Air Force Base GSA site, and is at the moment vacant and undeveloped. Pacific Industrial was represented by aforementioned brokerage CBRE in the completion of the deal.

According to a recently issued press statement, the new owner will develop a Class A industrial campus on 25 acres of the newly acquired plot, as the first phase of its massive development project. This initial phase will include three buildings totaling 550,000 square feet of space. The second phase of the development will add another structure totaling 300,000 square feet of space located in the immediate proximity of the 710 freeway, with rail service a future option for the site. The company has set an October 2014 deadline for the first phase of development at the site.

Specifics on the end product according to the developer will include state-of-the-art commerce facilities, two-story office space, above-standard skylight counts to maximize the amount of daylight, and 100 percent concrete yard areas. The construction will be developed according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards. A number of green features will be used in the development process to ensure its eco-friendly status such as: electric vehicle charging stations, solar-ready roofs and others meant to make the structure one of the most environmentally advanced industrial development projects in the state of California.



Los Angeles Hotels Trade Hands to Chinese Investors

20 Dec 2013, 7:50 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Southern California seems to be the perfect hospitality market for Chinese investors as two recent hotel deals were made by different companies entering the city’s real estate market. Chinese real estate developer Hazens Investment completed the acquisition of the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel for a fee of $96 million, while earlier this month the Torrance Marriott South Bay was acquired by the Sichuan Xinglida Group Enterprises Co. for $74 million.

Image courtesy of sheratonlax.com

The Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel is a 15-story facility that is located in the immediate vicinity of Los Angeles International Airport. According to the Los Angeles Times, the property was sold by an affiliate of Long Wharf Real Estate Partners, with representation from Maxim Hotel Brokerage Inc.

The 802-key Sheraton Gateway is the first property acquired by Hazens in the U.S. The new owner will keep Pyramid Hotel Group on as the hotel manager, but will carry out a number of improvements to the hotel. The lobby, common areas and guest rooms will be upgraded by Hazens, in an effort to maintain the facility’s appeal as a site for a number of business meetings.

Image courtesy of marriott.com

The Torrance Marriott South Bay is a 17-story property located near the Del Amo Fashion Center, an 8.4-acre mall, one of the largest properties of its kind in the entire U.S. The property was acquired by XLD Group, a subsidiary of Chinese real estate company Sichuan Xinglida Group Enterprises Co., an entity responsible for a number of mixed-use developments in China. The deal was brokered by Jones Lang LaSalle on behalf of seller DiamondRock Hospitality Co. The 487-key hotel was built in 1987 and underwent its most recent renovation in 2007.The new owner will give the property a makeover and raise its profile as a more upscale location, while Marriott will stay on as the operator.



Hines REIT Agrees to Purchase the Howard Hughes Center from Blackstone Group

19 Dec 2013, 12:02 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

With 2013 all but over, the Los Angeles real estate market looks set to end the year with a huge headliner as one of the largest office asset acquisitions that the city has seen this year is set to take place. The media has been buzzing over the past week with news that Hines Real Estate Investment Trust Inc. has agreed to purchase the Howard Hughes Center from current owner Blackstone Group LP for a fee of $506 million.

The Howard Hughes Center offers tenants 1.318,682 square feet of office space divided into five Class A office buildings located at 6080, 6060, 6701, 6100 and 6601 Center Drive. Located near the Howard Hughes Promenade, one of the most high-profile shopping spots in the area, the office complex was developed over 15 years between 1987 and 2002. The campus has a vacancy rate of 12 percent, with a tenant roster totaling 93 companies.

Houston-based Hines REIT Inc. has filed paperwork for the completion of this blockbuster deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which, according to Bloomberg.com, revealed that the deal will be closed by the 15th of January. The Howard Hughes Center last traded hands when current seller Blackstone acquired it back in 2006, part of a joint acquisition of Trizec Properties Inc., along with Brookfield Office Properties Inc.

The Los Angeles office market is finally showing signs of stabilization after a number of years during which vacancy rates have ballooned to a value of almost 17 percent. Data provided by Marcus and Millichap Real Estate Investment Services shows that, based on their forecast for the final quarter of 2013, the end of the year will mark a plateau for greater downtown’s vacancy rate.

Chart courtesy of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services at marcusmillichap.com



Hines REIT Agrees to Purchase the Howard Hughes Center from Blackstone Group

13 Dec 2013, 5:30 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

With 2013 all but over, the Los Angeles real estate market looks set to end the year with a huge headliner as one of the largest office asset acquisitions that the city has seen this year is set to take place. The media has been buzzing over the past week with news that Hines Real Estate Investment Trust Inc. has agreed to purchase the Howard Hughes Center from current owner Blackstone Group LP for a fee of $506 million.

The Howard Hughes Center offers tenants 1.318,682 square feet of office space divided into five Class A office buildings located at 6080, 6060, 6701, 6100 and 6601 Center Drive. Located near the Howard Hughes Promenade, one of the most high-profile shopping spots in the area, the office complex was developed over 15 years between 1987 and 2002. The campus has a vacancy rate of 12 percent, with a tenant roster totaling 93 companies.

Houston-based Hines REIT Inc. has filed paperwork for the completion of this blockbuster deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which, according to Bloomberg.com, revealed that the deal will be closed by the 15th of January. The Howard Hughes Center last traded hands when current seller Blackstone acquired it back in 2006, part of a joint acquisition of Trizec Properties Inc., along with Brookfield Office Properties Inc.

The Los Angeles office market is finally showing signs of stabilization after a number of years during which vacancy rates have ballooned to a value of almost 17 percent. Data provided by Marcus and Millichap Real Estate Investment Services shows that, based on their forecast for the final quarter of 2013, the end of the year will mark a plateau for greater downtown’s vacancy rate.

Chart courtesy of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services at marcusmillichap.com



One Santa Fe Tops Out—Transit-Oriented Community is Just One Year from Completion

9 Dec 2013, 5:18 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

One of the most high-profile mixed-use projects in the downtown area recently reached an important milestone—One Santa Fe topped out. The development constitutes a $160 million investment made by a joint venture between Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group and McGregor, Cowley and Polis. Construction duties for the project are being carried out by local developer, Bernards.

The transit-oriented community is located in the rapidly growing Arts District with proximity to the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the Little Tokyo/Arts District station on the Metro Gold Line; also nearby are the Red Line and the Purple Line currently expanded into the Mid-Cities District. One Santa Fe is located on a four-acre site that is under the ownership of the Metropolitan Transit Authority between 1st and 4th Streets.

Offering a total of 438 residential units upon completion, the transit-oriented community will provide a much-needed boost to the downtown housing stock, as Los Angeles and Orange counties are waiting for upwards of 8,000 residential units over the following years. The five-story, 740,000-square-foot development will also provide approximately 78,000 square feet of office and retail space. An art gallery, a theater and a common garden are also part of the project designed by L.A.-based Michael Maltzan Architecture, with executive architecture duties handled by KTGY Group, Inc.

Financing for the project was obtained from a number of sources including tax-exempt bonds from the California Housing Finance Agency, as well as a low-income tax-credit equity provided by UIG, which were used in the development of the residential component. According to rentv.com, the commercial component of One Santa Fe was financed with the use of a loan from the City of L.A., another UIG-provided tax credit, and tax credit allocations from Clearing house CDFI. Two nonprofits—LA Economic Growth Corporation and Los Angeles Development Fund—have also contributed to the financing effort for the community.

Rendering courtesy of bernards.com



Sears Building in Boyle Heights Trades Hands for $29 Million as New Owner Takes Charge of Redevelopment Hot Spot

3 Dec 2013, 3:19 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

One of downtown L.A.’s landmark buildings recently traded hands and is set for a change of direction. The Sears Roebuck & Co building, one of the most high-profile structures in the entire Boyle Heights neighborhood, was purchased by residential developer Izek Shomof for a total fee of approximately $29 million. The building had been owned by MJW Investments for the past nine years. The property had been the focal point of a massive redevelopment project that has since tanked.

Located at 2650 E. Olympic Boulevard, the nine-story building features a tower that stands 14 stories tall which has been a staple of the area for the 85 years of its existence. Currently on the National Register of Historic Places, the property is located on a 23-acre site that will undoubtedly be the spot for a new mixed-use development. Former owner MJW Investments was ready to pour $500 million into a redevelopment process that included residential units and a retail component of around 700,000 square feet. The 1.8 million square feet of space that the former product distribution center offers is now under the guidance of developer Izek Shomof, who will put to use his experience in the renovation of office and hospitality assets.

The property’s value has definitely fluctuated over the past decade, as rentv.com writes that current seller MJW Investments acquired the property in 2004 for a fee of $32 million. However, the Los Angeles Times recollects that back in 2007, boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya and a group of investors were linked to a move for the property worth a rumored $70 million. The possible buyers then decided not to go through with the acquisition due to the economic downturn. Five years later, the price reverted to its 2003-2004 value, with a loss in value of just $3 million.

Image courtesy of user Los Angeles via Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0



Lincoln, Phoenix Property Company and Paragon Announce Six New Leases for Runway at Playa Vista

25 Nov 2013, 5:52 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A trio of companies that are currently in charge of the development process for a major Los Angeles retail project recently announced a number of new leasing agreements. Lincoln Property Company, Phoenix Property Company and Paragon Commercial Group have agreed on terms with six new tenants for space at their Runway at Playa Vista retail center, currently underway. The property’s tenant roster will add the names Chase Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Lyfe Kitchen, Panini Café, Hopdoddy Burger Bar and Sol Cocina. According to the developers, an influx of fashion retailers signing leases at the Runway is expected in the near future.

The new names at the Runway will occupy approximately 25,000 square feet out of the total 220,000 square feet of retail planned for the mixed-use development. Also planned for the site are 420 apartments and around 35,000 square feet of office space. The space will be divided into three distinct buildings featuring a modern design by architect Johnson Fain.

An emphasis will be put on outdoor space, water features, common areas and firepits. Also important in the design scheme is the link between the Runway at Playa Vista development and the nearby Linear Park. The multifamily sector is booming in the Playa Vista community, with figures for the area’s build-out pointing towards 2,600 for-sale and apartment homes, according to a recently issued press statement. Additionally, 200 independent/assisted living homes as well as more office space and new parks and open space will be developed in the area.  

With a number of tenants already locked down including names such as Whole Foods, CVS Pharmacy and Veggie Grill, as well as entertainment companies such as Cinemark, set to open a new nine-screen multiplex, the property seems to be thriving while still in development. The project is located in one of the fastest growing submarkets of the greater Los Angeles area—Playa Vista is already garnering names such as “Silicon Beach 2.0” and “lower Westside”.  

Rendering courtesy of therunwayplayavista.com



Wood Partners Debuts Warner Park Luxury Community in San Fernando Valley

19 Nov 2013, 2:36 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Wood Partners has recently opened one of its projects in the Los Angeles area, as the local residential market prepares to see a steady flow of new units being added to the market. The developer is now done with its latest San Fernando Valley luxury project, an endeavor that has cost Wood Partners approximately $75 million.

Warner Park is an upscale apartment community located at 6701 and 6703 Eton Avenue that will offer residents 298 units. The approximately four-acre site is located in an affluent area featuring well-performing retail centers near the Pacific Ocean. The community is within 25 miles of L.A.’s downtown area, and 20 miles east of Burbank, an area that provides entertainment jobs in the hottest media center in the entire world.

Construction on the complex began in August 2011, and its completion signals the dawn of a new wave of multifamily construction that will hit the market during the following months. That aspect of the development process was also mentioned by Wood Partners’ Director of Development for South California, Brian Hansen, in a press statement issued by the company. According to Hansen, Warner Park is occurring at an ideal time. He added, “It’s an attractive property with an exceptional location.”

The recently completed apartment building relies on the resident amenity package that includes in-room fixtures such as stainless steel appliances, vinyl flooring and granite countertops. A resort-style pool, a modern clubroom, a bar area, flat screen TVs with gaming consoles, an Internet café, a business center, Wi-Fi Internet access throughout the community and a state-of-the-art fitness facility are all part of the amenity package that Warner Park offers its residents.

Image courtesy of  http://woodpartners.com



Improving Retail Market Scores Hanley Investment Numerous Deals Totaling $87 Million

2 Nov 2013, 11:20 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The pace of investment for the Los Angeles retail market is steadily improving, and brokerage companies are loving every second of it. A recent press release from Hanley Investment Urban Retail Advisors indicates the uptick in deals completed by company representatives in the Los Angeles market. Carlos J. Lopez, president of the company, has recently closed $87 million worth of transactions in the recent timeframe. Hanley Investment Urban Retail Advisors is a division of Hanley Investment Group Real Estate Advisors whose main activity involves the sale and advisory of high profile mixed-use and urban retail properties in dynamic districts.

The deals include two recent transactions involving landmark properties with international exposure. One of the transactions involved a fee interest in the land currently occupied by the TCL Chinese Theatre, known until recently as Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, while the other was the sale of the mixed-use building located at 6904-6912 Hollywood Boulevard, on the iconic Walk of Fame. The other deals handled by Lopez include the acquisition of a vacant land site that previously acted as the neighboring Jerry’s Deli’s parking lot. The 0.25-acre site is located at 321-327 N. Sherbourne Drive.

Another property Lopez negotiated for is the downtown L.A. retail condominium at the ground floor of the Evo, a 24-story, 311-unit luxury residential building, at the corner of 12th and Grand Avenue in South Park. The property offers 4,539 square feet of space at 1155 S. Grand Avenue. The Evo houses another retail condominium, currently the Cork Bar, recently sold, part of a different deal, also handled by the head of Hanley Investment Urban Retail Advisors. Lopez also negotiated deals in the nearby Elleven and Luma buildings, sister building for the Evo, all three part of a LEED-certified development.

Other properties involved in recent transactions facilitated by HI Urban Retail Advisors include a 55,000-square-foot, landmark retail development in Downtown L.A. and two retail buildings in the Old Pasadena District. HI Urban Retail Advisors also has the listings for a number of other high-profile properties that could turn into deals by the end of 2013.







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