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Los Angeles office landlord MPG names new chief executive

November 22, 2010 |  2:20 pm

Troubled Los Angeles commercial landlord MPG Office Trust Inc. has appointed a new president and chief executive.

Investment banker David L. Weinstein, who has served on the company's board of directors for the last two years, took over Monday. He replaces Nelson Rising, 68, who resigned Nov. 11 after disagreeing with the board about how to raise capital and manage the company’s heavy debt.

MPG buildings MPG is the largest landlord of upscale office space in downtown Los Angeles and also owns properties in Orange and San Diego counties. One of its best-known holdings is the U.S. Bank Tower in downtown L.A., the tallest building in the West.

MPG will continue its quest to reduce its debt and tough out the down real estate market, Weinstein said.

"The company is absolutely not for sale," he said. "The board and management team are in 100% alignment. It's really business as usual."

The company has been burdened with heavy debt since 2007, when it paid about $3 billion for 23 office buildings in Orange and Los Angeles counties. It has since sold some properties and given others back to lenders.

One of Weinstein's primary tasks will be to negotiate with lenders in the hope of extending maturing loans, while focusing the company's future on its core buildings in downtown L.A.

"The downtown assets are fabulous, and we want to own them long-term," he said.

Weinstein, 44, is a partner at Belvedere Capital, a New York real estate investment firm. He will reduce his responsibilities there substantially, he said, and move from Manhattan to Los Angeles. Before coming to Belvedere, he was a managing director of real estate investment fund Westbridge Investment Group and an investment banker at Goldman Sachs & Co.

Weinstein's selection was a "surprise choice," said analyst Craig Silvers, president of Bricks & Mortar Capital.

"There are a lot of older, more seasoned executives out there who have experience running public companies," he said.

MPG also announced Monday that it had engaged real estate accountant Frederick E. Chin and his firm, Atalon Management Group, to provide restructuring advice to the company.

MPG shares closed at $2.49, up 9 cents, or 4%.

--  Roger Vincent

Photo:  MPG's properties include the Gas Company Tower (center) and the taller U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: MPG Office Trust Inc.