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Old Pasadena Collection Snapped Up by Private Investor in $42 Million Transaction

18 Jul 2014, 8:07 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Four buildings in downtown Pasadena were recently part of a $42.6 million mixed-use deal as Old Pasadena Collection traded hands between two private investors. A team of representatives from real estate company Institutional Property Advisors arranged the sale on behalf of both parties.

The four properties that comprise the Old Pasadena Collection are located at 22 West Green Street, 65 West Dayton Street, 60 West Green Street and 70 West Green Street. The four properties total 91 residential units and a retail component that is unevenly divided between the four buildings. The residential units are located in the buildings at 22 West Green St. and 65 West Dayton St., while the ground floors of these buildings, and the two freestanding projects at 60 W Green St. and 70 W Green St., contain the retail component of the Old Pasadena Collection.

Also known as the Messina, 65 West Dayton St. offers 43 residential units and a ground-floor retail suite that is currently occupied by a tenant and the leasing office for all of the 91 residential units. The 2004-built property offers great resident amenities such as on-site gated parking, a central courtyard as well as a roof deck with lounge-style furniture and grill. In-unit features include central A/C, granite countertops, a black appliance package, stacked washers and dryers, carpeted living areas and a two-tone paint scheme.

The mixed-use building at 22 West Green St. is known as the Palermo and comprises 48 residential units, as well as four ground-floor retail suites, three of which are currently under contract. Amenities at the 2003-built Palermo include similar on-site gate parking and a central courtyard. In-unit amenities are similar to those found in the Messina, with track lighting, sunshades and views of the mountains added in some select units.   

Image courtesy of oldpasadenacollection.com


Vitus Group Acquires Senior Affordable Housing Building in Koreatown for $22.5 Million

14 Jul 2014, 2:51 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

An affordable housing community catering to seniors was recently sold by the Christ Unity Church in a deal worth approximately $22.5 million. The property in question is Christ Unity Manor in Koreatown, an asset that waited approximately 15 months to be traded; eight of those months the property spent in escrow. The sale was handled by real estate brokerage Colliers International. Although a large number of companies inquired about the property, the winning bid belonged to Vitus Group.

Christ Unity Manor is a 156-unit community located at 615 S. Manhattan Place that was developed back in 1973 and totals 116,664 square feet of space, according to real estate data provider PropertyShark.com. The property has since served as a senior affordable housing complex operated by the church. The non-profit seller only agreed to the deal once it found a buyer that would guarantee to maintain the property’s designation. The new owner has agreed to maintain the property as intended for at least 55 years. According to Colliers International, 43 prospective buyers bid for the chance of owning the 12-story affordable housing building.

With the area’s average rent rate currently at around $1,275 per month, the complex holds its rate near the $375 per month for the complex’ one-bedroom, one-bath units. Vitus will bring its experience with acquisitions and rehab of affordable housing assets, its commitment to renovating the structure and implementing other programs that would enhance the tenant experience. According to Colliers, the new owner is also committing around $5.45 million to add upgrades and renovations to Christ Unity Manor.

 Image courtesy of Google Maps.

MacFarlane Partners Acquires Downtown Development Site, Lines up Two-Building Mixed-Use Project

7 Jul 2014, 7:10 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

MacFarlane Partners has recently completed the acquisition of a high-profile development site located in the growing residential market of downtown Los Angeles. The developer has two residential buildings lined up for the piece of land, as well as a retail component and large amounts of open space. The buyer acquired the development site from Africa-Israel USA, in a deal brokered by Newmark Grubb Knight Frank representatives from New York and Los Angeles.

Located on the northeast corner of Fifth and Olive Streets and overlooking the nearby Pershing Square, the project known as Park Fifth will comprise approximately 600 residential units with a mix of apartments and condo units. The site offers a total of 99,000 square feet upon which Macfarlane will build a large mixed-use project that will offer around 600,000 square feet of space. The retail component would offer around 17,000 square feet of retail space, while roughly one half-acre of open space and amenities are also set to take shape on the podium that will link the two buildings together. According to rentv.com, talks regarding the deal have been underway for almost a year, with the project meanwhile completing the entitlement process, and approval finally coming through for the project during the first half of 2014. Construction at the Park Fifth development project is lined up for mid-2015.

Set to take shape in a growing development market of L.A., the project would add to a slate of large projects in an area with a local population density of 14,800/square mile. Around 100 building projects have sprouted in the city’s downtown area over the past few years, CoStar shows.

Image courtesy of macfarlanepartners.com

DJM Scores $93 Million in Financing as Construction Continues Unabated

28 Jun 2014, 2:04 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A major retail development project in Huntington Beach recently received a serious fund injection as developer DJM landed approximately $93 million in financing. The funds were arranged by George Smith Partners Principal and Managing Director Steve Bram and Senior Vice President David Pascale. The funding is divided between a $56.5 million senior loan and a $37 million mezzanine loan. DJM will be using the proceeds to continue the development process at its Pacific City project.

The 191,000-square-foot retail center is located near the Huntington Beach Pier, along Pacific Coast Highway, three blocks away from Main Street. It features a two-story open design that facilitates views of the nearby Pacific Ocean to the largest part of the property’s tenants. With only a small amount of preleasing necessary as part of the financing process handled by George Smith Partners, information regarding the property’s tenant roster is still rather scarce.

Set to debut in 2015, the retail component of Pacific City will include a wide range of lifestyle brands, popular dining spots and an Equinox fitness center. The property’s Lot 579 will be a marketplace-style arrangement featuring local and regional food vendors in the vein of San Francisco’s Ferry Building. Construction at the project began late last year on the lot that DJM had acquired back in 2012. The process will continue with no changes in the development schedule due to the securing of the two loans.

The Pacific City development project was approved back in 2004, and calls for a brand new mixed-use experience to be built in Huntington Beach on a 31.5-acre plot of land, offering new retail, residential units and a hospitality facility. Currently, DJM Capital Partners Inc. is in charge of development for the commercial/retail project, R.D. Olson Development is handling the construction of the eight story, 250-key hotel that will also include 5,800 square feet of meeting and banquet space. Crescent Heights is listed as the applicant for the 17.23-acre multifamily component of the development that would include 516 residential units.

Image courtesy of huntingtonbeachca.gov

Kilroy Realty Corp. Reveals Plans for Mixed-Use Project in Hollywood

21 Jun 2014, 4:07 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

One of the most active commercial real estate companies in the Los Angeles market has unveiled plans for a large creative media mixed-use office campus at the recent Hollywood Economic Development Summit. Kilroy Realty Corporation will be developing its proposed project known as The Academy on a site acquired in Q4 of 2013 from The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The site is an entire Los Angeles city block located between Vine Street, DeLongpre Avenue, Ivar Avenue and Homewood Avenue.

Meant to create a mixed-use community on the block, KRC’s plan calls for three four-story creative office buildings and a 23-story residential tower to be built on the premises. The three office buildings will range in size between 78,000 and 100,000 square feet. The project includes a copious amount of open space; approximately 40 percent of the four-acre site will remain open space with the residential tower set to take shape on the northwestern corner of the campus.

The public area will be outfitted with art and create a large public gathering area, featuring most of the development’s planned 20,000 square feet of street-level retail. The development will open up at the corner of Vine and DeLongpre. Kilroy has designed the project to cater to entertainment, media and technology tenants that require both small and large spaces.

The largest of the three office buildings will reportedly feature a design scheme sourced from the historic mid-century bow trussed buildings that are currently making waves in the creative office market. The executive architect on the project is House & Robertson with the Shimoda Design Group also playing an important part in the development process.

All three buildings will feature terraces, the cascading design providing tenants with the opportunity of having individual space including private entrances and outdoor meeting areas. The buildings will be connected by a series of landscaped passageways that run through the center of the development. Construction is expected to begin during Q1 of 2016, and will be aimed at receiving LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Image courtesy of kilroyrealty.com


Hines and Oaktree Partner Yet Again for the Acquisition of Brea Place Office Campus

13 Jun 2014, 7:58 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

International real estate firm Hines recently announced the purchase of Brea Place, a sprawling office campus that also includes a plot of mixed-use development land, part of its ongoing partnership with Oaktree Capital Management. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed to the press.

Brea Place is an office campus offering a total of 557,589 square feet of space in the North Orange County submarket. The campus comprises six office buildings ranging in height between one and six stories on the east and west sides of S. State College Boulevard, near the Brea Mall. The Brea Place campus has a current occupancy rate of around 75 percent and a variety of tenants. The property’s current tenant roster includes names such as Chevron, Merrill Lynch, MetLife, Wells Fargo, Sully-Miller Contracting Co. and Union Bank. After the completion of the transaction, Hines is assuming management duties for the asset.

Hines also acquired the 30 acre-property for the seven acres that are included in the package and clearly pose a great development opportunity. The acres are targetted for future mixed-use development projects that would increase the value of the asset in terms of future possibilities.

Ray Lawler, a Hines managing director and the person leading the company’s Orange County development and investment, said that the market that Brea Place is part of “is a highly attractive submarket where Hines and Oaktree expect to grow our portfolio.” Representatives of frequent business partner, Oaktree, share the positive outlook regarding the asset. Managing Director Ambrose Fisher noted that the company is “excited to partner with Hines on another significant office opportunity.”

Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. Announces Purchase of Fallbrook Shopping Center for $210 Million

6 Jun 2014, 3:12 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. recently announced that it will become the new owner of a major retail center in the San Fernando Valley. The company has entered into a binding contract for the acquisition of the Fallbrook Shopping Center, for a purchase fee of $210 million in cash, from General Growth Properties. The transaction will reportedly be closed by the end of this quarter.

Fallbrook Shopping Center is a 1.12-million square foot shopping center located in West Hills, CA, and is one of the top retail properties in the West San Fernando Valley. The property’s current tenant roster includes three different supermarkets, namely Ralph’s, Trader Joe’s and Sprouts, while a diverse mix of national retailers such as WalMart, Home Depot and Target, is also part of the package available at Fallbrook.

In terms of leasing, the retail property is currently 98 percent under contract, with two-thirds of the agreements being completed with investment-grade rated retailers. The average remaining lease term for the property’s anchor tenants currently stands at around 12 years.

The acquisition of the Fallbrook Shopping Center will contribute to the enhancement of the new owner’s long-term cash flow and tenant diversification, while also increasing its pro forma unencumbered GLA to 87 percent. The acquisition is accretive to Retail Opportunity Investments Corp.’s net income and fund from operations per diluted share. The asset is located in a trade area that totals around 474,000 in population, with a median house-hold income of around $100,000 per year.

According the President and CEO of Retail Opoortunity Investments Corp., Stuart A. Tanz, the buyer expressed its excitement regarding the deal, noting the fact that “Fallbrook is one of the strongest shopping centers in the San Fernando Valley and is an excellent strategic fit with our existing portfolio, given its location and market position.”

Marcus & Millichap Arranges Sale of Two Playa Vista Retail Properties for $16.9 Million

31 May 2014, 12:57 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Marcus & Millichap’s Encino office recently arranged the sale of a two-property retail portfolio for a total of approximately $16.9 million. The two shopping spots are located in the L.A. submarket of Playa Vista. The acquisition was arranged by Marcus & Millichap Vice President investments, Brandon Michaels, and Janette Monfared, an associate with the Encino office. The seller is an affiliate of Brookfield Residential.

The two retail properties, Pacific Promenade and Seabluff Drive, are located at the ground floors of mixed-use projects in Playa Vista, at 13020 Pacific Promenade and the corner of Seabluff Dr. and Runaway Dr. respectively. According to rentv.com, the acquisition was made possible through the obtaining of nonrecourse CMBS debt at 65 percent loan to value. Arranged by MMCC’s Encino office, the financing totaled approximately $10.8 million.

Pacific Promenade is an 11,800 square-foot retail property, home to tenants such as Coffee Bean, Bank of America, Yoga Vista, Sweet Fish Sushi Bar and Hollyway Cleaners. The 2005-built property is located on the ground floor of a mixed-use community that also includes 179 condo units.

Seabluff Drive is a 10,900 square-foot retail center that was developed in 2007, as part of another mixed-use community, also featuring 179 condominiums on the upper floors. The property’s retail tenant roster features names such as Coldwell Banker, Playa Pilates, Yummy.com Fresh Market and Pinkberry.

The properties have an occupancy rate of 100 percent and were fully leased at the time of the transaction. Part of an already well-performing area of Los Angeles where the average vacancy rate stands at around 4.5 percent, the assets are overachieving. According to data provided by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the Westside Cities area ranks fourth in terms of vacancy rates, trailing only the Tri-Cities, the Mid-Wilshire area and South Bay/Long Beach.

Image courtesy of Google Maps.

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

The Wolff Company Develops Mixed-Use Community in L.A.’s South Park District

23 May 2014, 3:12 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A new community is nearing its official groundbreaking, with The Wolff Company currently set to start work on its latest mixed-use project. Poised to take shape in downtown Los Angeles, the 12th & Olive development is a $54 million project on which developer The Wolff Company is working with TCA Architects and Bernards.

Located at 1243 S. Olive in the downtown L.A. district of South Park, the new community will include residential and retail space as well as common space for resident amenities. The 293 residential units included in the seven-story structure will feature high-end finishes and long-term maintenance advantages. The building will feature a total of 17,300 square feet of ground-floor retail, while the common space will occupy a total of 7,000 square feet of space. Based on designs from TCA, the podium-like structure of the building will be the defining feature of the mixed-use project. 12th and Olive will be located near Staples Center, the home of the most important local sports franchises, the Clippers, the Lakers and the Kings, and the LA Convention Center, as well as “7th Street Restaurant Row” and the Grammy Museum.

The community will offer its residents high-end amenities such as a 24/7 on-site valet service and concierge service, creating a hotel-like experience. The project is very similar to the developer’s nearby 12th & Grand mixed-use community, with that project offering a slightly larger number of residential units and a slightly higher amount of ground-floor retail space. That project will take shape at 1200 S. Grand Avenue, creating a specific style of community for The Wolff Company in the downtown Los Angeles real estate market.

Image courtesy of awolff.com

Colliers Arranges Land Deal for The Olson Company, New Residential Development Set-up in Temple City

16 May 2014, 9:27 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A parcel of land that formerly housed an industrial facility in Temple City in the San Gabriel Valley is set to be transformed into a new housing community by Orange County-based The Olson Company. The home builder recently acquired the land with the help of real estate firm Colliers International.

The brokerage worked on behalf of both Olson and selling entity, Ramshorn Corp., during the transaction. Colliers was also responsible for holding the transaction together through the process of getting plans for the housing development approved by local authorities. Senior Vice President Wayne Lambert, Executive Vice President Scott Heaton and Associate Joe Williams comprised the Colliers team in charge of the deal.  

According to Colliers, the developer will now look to build 74 new homes in Temple City. Olson Company is set to create a new gated community with a combination of single-family attached and detached homes that will be named “Linden Walk.” The neighborhood will include on-site recreational amenities for future residents, as well as a sound wall meant to minimize the amount of sonic pollution coming from the nearby Union Pacific Railroad line. The project is being referred to as a “walk,” given the developer’s focus on bringing resident amenities that are within walking distance of the new homes it builds. The amenities include mass transit hubs, shopping centers, schools and entertainment options.

Acquiring the former lumber yard site is no one-time deal for The Olson Company as the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott Laurie recently revealed. “We really like the San Gabriel Valley market and we continue to look for additional opportunities there,” Laurie said, focusing on the lack of inventory in the area and the existing demand for new housing projects as main reasons for the developer’s current strategy.   

Images courtesy of olsonhomes.com

West Los Angeles Office Market Catches Attention of Sunrise Real Estate Group

9 May 2014, 4:57 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A West LA office building was recently acquired for a reported price of approximately $39 million. The off-market transaction was completed by a partnership consisting of Sunrise Real Estate Group with Robhana Group and 4M Investment Group who picked up the property from seller TPMC Realty Corp. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank representative Al Barasani handled the buyer’s end of the deal, while the seller represented itself. IDB Bank provided financing for the deal. The office asset last traded hands in 2008.

Located at 12301 Wilshire Boulevard in West Los Angeles, just west of the 405 Fwy, the 107,000-square-foot class A office building recently went through a capital improvement campaign. Former owner TPMC invested around $5.5 million in the Gensler-designed process which included upgrading the building’s exterior façade, and the renovation of the common areas, restrooms and lobby, while the elevators received brand new cabs, rentv.com reports.

In terms of occupancy, three quarters of the building’s office space is currently under contract. The facility’s tenant roster includes names such as film company Open Road Films and Opus Bank as well as a number of medical offices. Management duties for the property will be carried out by SRG Management, a subsidiary of the new owner.

Buyer Sunrise Real Estate Group has made the West LA building its second acquisition here this year, marking clear interest in the local real estate market. rentv.com noted that the recent West LA acquisitions mark a shift in the company’s usual investment moves, in which the company mostly focused on the San Fernando Valley market.

Image courtesy of tpmcrealty.com

Local Construct Breaks Ground on Innovative Housing Concept in Echo Park

2 May 2014, 2:52 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A new housing project in Los Angeles’ Echo Park recently held a ground-breaking event, celebrating the innovative concept being introduced by the developer. Los Angeles-based Local Construct has started work on its Blackbirds micro-neighborhood. The community will be located on a site that formerly housed five rundown cottages in Echo Park.

One of the most important ideas on which the project is based upon is coming up with a walkable community focus, rather than on a car focus, which the developer believes is the current predominant trend in development in Los Angeles. The small lot urban infill development project aims to provide 18 new residential units situated in a heavily landscaped area. Blackbirds will become more than an average small lot multifamily infill project. It will try to introduce a new housing prototype in one of the city’s fastest growing neighborhoods.  

According to a press statement announcing the groundbreaking of Blackbirds, the community is the result of Barbara Bestor’s design. The units will feature pitched roofs that reference the rooflines of the area, creating an effect of “stealth density,” according to the architect Bestor. As previously mentioned, the multifamily project will not focus on the parking component, straying from the usual characteristics of residential development in the city, and of the West Coast which are mostly informed by the East Coast model.

Local Construct currently has projects underway in Boise, Idaho, and Eagle Rock, all of them based on the build smaller, build smarter mantra. The purpose is to provide modern, comfortable homes for the urban dweller employing high architecture, smart use of land and a new overall housing typology focused on the community, not on the units.

Image courtesy of blackbirdsla.com

New Affordable Housing Community by Affirmed Housing Group Holds Opening Ceremony

25 Apr 2014, 2:58 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A brand new affordable housing community recently held an official grand opening in the presence of a number of local officials and backers. The Lotus Garden Apartments is Affirmed Housing Group’s latest affordable residential project in the L.A. metro area. The ceremony was attended by Councilman Gilbert A. Cedillo, the President and CEO of Affirmed Housing Group, James Silverwood, as well as Rushmore Cervantes, the executive director of the HCIDLA.

The all-affordable housing complex is located at 715-721 Yale Street and offers 60 units of residential space catered to families earning between 30 and 60 percent of the area’s median income. The community will include 15 studio units, 15 one-bedroom apartments, 10 two-bedroom apartments, as well as 20 three-bedroom apartments.

Lotus Garden Apartments will offer its residents an amenity package including a rooftop recreation area with panoramic views of the city, a tot lot, a barbecue area, and gardening plots; there will be a total of 4,000 square feet of open space. The ground level of the building will feature a community room, a computer lab and the management office occupying a total of 2,200 square feet.

Built to include a number of environmentally friendly fixtures such as high-efficiency boilers and solar water heating, the project will also aim to receive LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and it will feature SoCal’s first Harding Steel CARMATRIX parking system. The innovative system maximizes the use of space and number of cars that can be stored and will hold a total of 63 vehicles. CARMATRIX is a semi-automated process wherein residents park their vehicles on platforms that then move vertically and horizontally for a stacking effect. Other advantages of the system are the fact that it will only take up to 60 percent of the space a normal parking garage would, while maintenance and operation costs amount to a mere $100/month.

Rendering courtesy of affirmedhousing.org

ALTO Real Estate Funds Completes Moreno Valley Retail Acquisition to Start New Investment Fund

14 Apr 2014, 3:11 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

ALTO Real Estate Funds has started its second investment vehicle in the American market with a retail purchase in Moreno Valley, CA. The New York-based private equity real estate investment company has closed on the purchase of TownGate Center for a fee of $47.2 million. The property will be the first to be part of the new ALTO FUND 2, the investment vehicle registered in the state of Delaware, and it has a target investment value of $100 million.

TownGate Center is located 55 miles east of L.A. in an intensely trafficked area. Totaling 300,000 square feet of retail space, the property currently features a vacancy rate of nine percent and a tenant roster of long-term retail and dining names such as AT&T, Chipotle, Chase Bank, ULTA, Time Warner Cable, Wells Fargo Bank, TJ Maxx and Dollar Tree. ALTO will put in place a new leasing strategy that is set to bolster rental income by 25 percent during the following five years. 

ALTO financed the acquisition with the use of $15 million of equity and a $32 million loan provided by Deutsche Bank at a fixed interest rate at 4.55 percent.

The ALTO FUND 2 started out with an initial $33 million back in January, with the closing of the final stage of fundraising next month. The fund’s parent company has already invested in 15 different commercial properties, with its current portfolio totaling 2.1 million square feet and a total value of $330 million. The property has sold its stake in six different properties, the most notable being the sale of a Manhattan retail condominium worth $50 million. The fund is currently set to add more deals during the next few months in the California and Colorado markets.   

Image courtesy of Google Maps 

Brentwood Capital Partners Sells Iconic Citizen News Building in Hollywood

8 Apr 2014, 1:23 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

A historic Los Angeles office building was the object of one of the most recent real estate transactions to take place in the city. Buyer SE Edinger LLC paid a fee of $14.5 million for the Hollywood property. The property was sold by Brentwood Capital Partners, a full service real estate investment, development and management company. The two parties involved in the transaction were represented by Industry Partners and Coldwell Banker Commercial WESTMAC.  

The subject of this transaction is the home of Hollywood’s first ever newspaper, the Citizen News Building. The aging property offers the new owner a 48,900 square-foot office asset in a prime location at 1545 Wilcox Avenue at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue. The 1930-built art deco styled property is the result of architect Francis D. Rutherford’s design. According to rentv.com, the building that housed the local Citizen News newspaper between 1935 and 1968, has gone through a multi-million dollar renovation process in 2006 that was meant to reposition the building and make it attractive to the demand from tenants in the media and entertainment sectors.

Given the recent upswing and demand for creative office space in the greater Los Angeles market, the property’s 16-foot high ceilings, skylights, operable windows and polished concrete floors have been great assets in the process of signing tenants. At the time of the transaction, the building had a six percent vacancy rate, placing it in the upper tier of office properties in the area. The Citizen News Building’s tenant roster includes names such as Larson Studios and Partizan Entertainment, confirming the interest of the entertainment industry in properties of this type.

Image courtesy of bcpmgt.com

Oprah Winfrey Network Signs Lease for CIM Group-Owned Office Building at The Lot

31 Mar 2014, 7:03 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Oprah can always make headlines by just appearing somewhere, but this time, her company, Oprah Winfrey Network is the one in the news. OWN recently completed a leasing deal for a large chunk of space in a new office facility developed by local real estate company, CIM Group.

OWN will now occupy 60,000 square feet of creative office space out of the 98,000 square-foot building. The Formosa South building is part of CIM Group’s sprawling studio campus known as The Lot. The 11-acre project is located in West Hollywood on Santa Monica Boulevard and will also house OWN’s production necessities with the network having access to the existing sound stages and various production facilities.

Formosa South is a modern, recently completed office building that features high standards and is LEED Gold certified by the US Green Building Council. The creative office asset, built to the standards of the current trend in Los Angeles office market, features large floor plates, 13-foot ceiling heights, floor-to-ceiling glass with operable windows, as well as common terraces and balconies. The campus also offers great proximity to The Lot’s facilities such as the commissary and sound stages, a luxury OWN currently doesn’t have at its 5700 Wilshire Boulevard address.

The Lot offers a total of seven sound stages, post-production and office buildings that have seen much film and television history take place at the site. The 11-acre studio campus was founded in 1919 by Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks and it served as the production site for films such as Guys and Dolls, Westside Story and Some Like it Hot. Since its acquisition by Warner Brothers in 1980, the property has seen shows such as The Love Boat, Dynasty, True Blood and The Social Network be produced on its premises.

Map courtesy of thelotstudios.com

One Santa Fe, Arts District’s Crown Jewel is Nearing Completion

24 Mar 2014, 2:17 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

One of the projects that marked a new uptick in development for Los Angeles is just months away from coming to market. The One Santa Fe mixed-use development, featuring the backing of real estate company Canyon Capital Realty Advisors, is poised to reposition an underutilized area of downtown L.A. The project, whose initial investor was Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, is now three quarters of the way into construction, and it will add retail, housing and art space to the area located between First and Fourth Streets, along Santa Fe Avenue.

Once completed, One Santa Fe will offer a total of 510,000 square feet of mixed-use space featuring a residential component of 438 residential units. The 80,000-square-foot retail component is already 50 percent leased, further underlining the area’s recent economic growth and need of new space. Backed by the Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund III, One Santa Fe is a $160 million investment in the emerging Los Angeles Arts District, one of the future focal points of the city’s downtown area. Eighty-eight of the community’s residential units are designated as affordable housing, while the remaining 350 will be made available at market rate prices. Access to the development will be made easy by the nearby Metro Gold Line at the Little Tokyo/Arts Districts Station, as well as the forthcoming Metro Red Line which has a proposed Arts District Station that connects to the “Subway to the Sea” project.

The project’s economic impact on the area is considerable as around 1,900 short-term jobs were created during the development process, and roughly 400 permanent positions will have been created once the project is occupied.

According to a recently issued press statement, Goldman Sachs Investment Group is going to be the purchaser of One Santa Fe’s residential component, as well as the New Market tax credits.

Architecturally speaking, the Michael Maltzan-designed development will feature flourishes that will link it with its surroundings. The industrial style adopted by the architect is evocative of the area’s heritage, as well as the nearby Los Angeles River and the nearby Southern California Institute of Architecture, which was formerly a freight depot.


CBRE Team Arranges Sale of Large Inland Empire Retail Center for $42 Million

16 Mar 2014, 4:52 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The Inland Empire recently saw a large retail transaction completed when a Moreno Valley Property was acquired for a fee of approximately $42 million. TownGate Center was sold on behalf of the owning entity, a partnership between Walton Street and Fritz Duda Company, by a team headed by CBRE Senior Vice President Philip D. Voorhees. The SVP worked along with the National Retail Investment Group—West consisting of Megan Read, Jimmy Slusher, John Read and Brad Rable to represent the seller, as well as buyer Brixton Capital, a San Diego-based company in the all-cash deal.

The TownGate Center sits on a 28.5-acre site located in the immediate proximity of the Moreno Valley Mall. The retail property offers a total of 285,775 square feet of space. The current tenant roster is the result of an escalating leasing process at the facility, according to Phillip D. Voorhess, who said, “The substantial leasing activity at TownGate Center in the past three years, more than 100,000 square feet of new leases with tenants like TJ Maxx/Home Goods, BevMo!, ULTA and Planet Fitness, demonstrates the property’s appeal to expanding tenants.”

The current tenant roster includes other high-performing retailers such as Ross Dress for Less, Regency Theatres, Dollar Tree, and popular dining spot Chipotle. Two other CBRE employees, leasing professionals Walter Pagel and Barclay Harty acted as leasing agents at the property at the time of the sale, according to a press release announcing the acquisition.

Arranging the sale of the TownGate Center is an important milestone for the NRIG-West team, this being its 500th successful retail investment sale transaction. A total of 83 operations were completed by the team since the beginning of 2012, for a combined value of $1.7 billion. This transaction came about after heightened marketing activity, with the CBRE team’s marketing efforts distributing more than 460 memoranda to investors and brokers. Voorhees also told MHN, “Investor interest often follows tenant interest, and we expect increasing retail investment sale volumes in the Inland Empire over the next four to five years.”

SL Green Sells Stake in SoCal Office Portfolio as Los Angeles Office Market Shifts Away from Downtown

10 Mar 2014, 3:54 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The ownership structure of a major office portfolio recently suffered some changes after New York City-based SL Green Realty Corp. announced that it had sold its stake in a Southern California portfolio to an affiliate of its joint venture partner. SL received $100 million from an entity linked to Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII for its 43.74 percent interest. The properties that comprise the portfolio are located across Southern California in major markets including Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.

The 28-asset portfolio offers the new owner 3.7 million square feet of office space. Originally, the portfolio included 31 properties and a total area of 4.5 million square feet which SL Green Realty Corp. acquired through foreclosure. The company then began restructuring the portfolio’s $750 million of in place financing. During the time of the restructuring, SL began its partnership with Blackstone, then acquired the minority interest in three of the properties. The seller went on to move those three properties in deals worth a total of $223 million, a recent press statement indicated. The portfolio then went through another extensive improvement and lease-up phase, handled by an affiliate of Blackstone, namely Equity Office Properties.

The greater Los Angeles’ office market has seen vacancy rates plateau at around 16.5 percent over past quarters, as data from Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Services indicates. The research shows that in 2013, around 510,000 square feet of office space was added to the available stock. Increased leasing at the end of the year meant that absorption in 2013 maintained the average vacancy rate for downtown Los Angeles at the same levels seen during 2012. Major improvement in terms of vacancy has been seen over the past few years in the San Fernando Valley where current values outpace L.A.’s downtown. The Westside Cities submarket has also seen rates drop, with vacancy now lower than the core of Los Angeles.   

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

Los Angeles Apartment Communities Trade Hands as M West Expands Portfolio

17 Feb 2014, 5:52 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The local multifamily market has had a good start to 2014, with a number of deals taking place since the beginning of the year. Recently, real estate investment services firm Marcus & Millichap announced that it had arranged the sale of a three-multifamily property portfolio in the Santa Monica submarket of Los Angeles. M West Holdings recently announced the acquisition of a number of residential properties, expanding its multifamily portfolio in the Los Angeles market.

The Marcus & Millichap-arranged deals were completed for a total fee of $28.5 million, according to a recently issued press statement. The three apartment assets located at 1033 3rd Street, 811 6th Street and 1137 11th Street total 66 residential units, acquired at a per-unit rate of $432,000. The three properties were built between 1963 and 1972. The deal was handled by Marcus & Millichap associates in the company’s L.A. office, Michael Hanassab and Elliot Hassan, on behalf of a private investor.

M West Holdings added almost 300 residential units to its Los Angeles multifamily property portfolio since the beginning of February alone. The company recently announced the acquisition of the Milano Apartments, a 248-unit luxury apartment complex located in Torrance. Originally built in 1964, the residential community was renovated between 2007 and 2009, and it offers a resident amenity package that includes fitness facilities, two tennis and basketball courts, secured covered parking spaces for residents, a lavish clubhouse, internet café, a business center, barbecue area, outdoor pools, a sundeck and a spa.

Also acquired by M West recently was Grafton Lofts, a 44-unit residential asset located in one of the best-known neighborhoods of L.A., Echo Park. The apartment community offers studio, one- and two-bedroom units located in the proximity of local staples such as the Baxter Stairway, Elyasian Park, Angelino Heights and Dodger Stadium. The property will be rebranded by its new owner, according to a press statement issued by M West.  

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