Money & Company

Tracking the market and economic trends
that shape your finances.

Category: Roger Vincent

Real Estate | Autos | Consumer | Economy

Transit-oriented North Hollywood residential complex is for sale

NoHo14 NoHo 14, a transit-oriented condominium complex created in North Hollywood during the last real estate boom, is on the market.

The 14-story residential and retail complex at 5440 N. Tujunga Ave. is being sold by Beverly Hills investment fund Kennedy Wilson and two institutional partners, according to real estate broker Institutional Property Advisors, a division of Marcus & Millichap.

Completed in 2008 after the housing market sank, the building’s 180 units are now for lease as apartments. No price has been set, but property experts familiar with the San Fernando Valley market estimate it could garner as much as $80 million.

The building is near stops on the Red Line subway and the Orange Line bus rapid transit network, said broker Ron Harris, who has the listing with Greg Harris.


Former Burbank condo project sold as apartments

More borrowers gain permanent mortgage relief in August

-- Roger Vincent

 Photo: The NoHo 14 residential tower in North Hollywood. Credit: Institutional Property Advisors

Port of Long Beach to acquire Long Beach World Trade Center

WTC Exterior Bldg Pic_1 The Long Beach World Trade Center, a signature high-rise office building on the city’s skyline, is set to be acquired for $130 million by the Port of Long Beach.

The port’s Board of Harbor Commissioners has tentatively agreed to purchase the 27-story building on Ocean Boulevard. It is in the due-diligence phase of a deal expected to close Oct. 30.

The sale would be one of the largest in Los Angeles County this year, said real estate broker Bill Townsend of Inco Commercial, who is an advisor to the port.

“It’s a rare opportunity to purchase a Class A office building at a bottom-of-market price,” Townsend said.

The seller, Legacy Partners, paid nearly $150 million for the property in 2007, when commercial real estate values were last peaking.

It is “imperative” that the port relocate its headquarters, the board said in a statement. The current six-story headquarters was built in 1959 and is obsolete, overcrowded and seismically unsafe for the port’s 600 employees, it said.

The World Trade Center, completed in 1989, has nearly 575,000 square feet of space and is about 70% leased. The port would receive rental income from tenants such as law firms and the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

The center includes a two-story retail plaza that connects to the adjacent Hilton Hotel.


County buys former Fleetwood buildings in Riverside

Recording Academy, which awards Grammys, sells former headquarters

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: Long Beach World Trade Center. Credit: Legacy Partners


Downtown Los Angeles hotel Kyoto Grand sold

Kyoto The Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens in downtown Los Angeles has been acquired by UBS Realty Investors and is expected to be reflagged as a DoubleTree hotel.

The 21-story tower with 434 rooms at Los Angeles and First streets was sold by 3D Investments of Los Angeles, said real estate broker John Strauss of Jones Lang LaSalle. He declined to disclose details including the price, but industry newsletter Real Estate Alert said UBS paid $45 million.

Hotel business in the area has improved since the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels opened last year at LA Live, Strauss said. “Downtown has become one of the most dynamic submarkets in the greater L.A. basin.”

The Kyoto Grand, completed in 1977 and formerly known as the New Otani Hotel & Garden, has been a cultural anchor of Little Tokyo for decades and a destination for Japanese tourists.

Expected to take over management of the hotel is Newport Beach-based Rim Hospitalities, manager of the Marriott Los Angeles and the Sheraton Los Angeles, both also in downtown.


Spending on hotel improvements is on the rise

Legoland to begin hotel construction in October

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: Upstairs garden at the Kyoto Grand. Credit: Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens

County buys former Fleetwood buildings in Riverside


Two office buildings on the headquarters campus of motor-home maker Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. in Riverside have been acquired by Riverside County for $6.6 million.

CT Realty Investors Inc. sold the two buildings at 3125 and 3075 Myers St. in Citrus Park West business park just south of the 91 Freeway and west of Van Buren Boulevard, the seller said.

The county plans to use the office space for its Department of Mental Health and a data center, said James “Watty” Watson, president of CT Realty.

Aliso Viejo-based CT Realty purchased Citrus Park in 2008 from Fleetwood and converted the 417,811-square-foot, 12-building property to a multi-tenant business park offering office and warehouse buildings for sale or lease.

Fleetwood filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009 and its assets were sold.


Simmons to open Victorville furniture factory, start hiring in October

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: The former Fleetwood headquarters in Riverside.  Credit: CT Realty Investors 

Former Burbank condo project sold as apartments


A recent Burbank condominium development where the units were never sold will be converted to apartments by its new owner.

Raintree Partners, a Laguna Niguel real estate investment and development company, paid $14 million for Taiko Village, a 43-unit condo complex at 1601 Scott Road that was built in 2009 but never opened.

“We will complete the small amount of finish work that remains at the property, obtain the certificate of occupancy and then rent the units out as apartments,” said Jeff Allen, chief executive of Raintree.

Taiko Village consists of three buildings on 1.12 acres, with a mix of townhouses and one-, two- and three-bedroom flats.

The acquisition brings Raintree’s holdings in California to 12 apartment complexes with more than 1,800 units, Allen said.


Home prices, steady over summer, may resume descent

Troubled homes hanging over U.S. housing market drop

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: Taiko Village in Burbank. Credit: Raintree Partners

Recording Academy, which awards Grammys, sells former headquarters


 The Recording Academy, the organization that hands out the music industry’s annual Grammy Awards, sold its former Santa Monica headquarters to developers.

Developer Trammell Crow Co. and investment firm Westport Capital Partners bought the unoccupied three-story office building at 3402 Pico Blvd. and two adjacent residential parcels, real estate brokerage CB Richard Ellis said.

The price was not disclosed, but Westside real estate experts familiar with the property valued the deal at more than $10 million.

Trammell Crow hasn’t decided exactly what to do with the property yet, Senior Managing Director Brad Cox said, but some kind of residential development is likely.

“It’s a great piece of real estate in Santa Monica, where you [ordinarily] can’t find two and half acres of contiguous space,” Cox said.

The 39,128-square-foot office building constructed in 1969 has been vacant since the Recording Academy moved in 2009 to larger quarters in the nearby Lantana office park, which is home to many entertainment industry businesses.

Trammell Crow may refurbish the former Recording Academy building and rent it to a single tenant while building housing alongside. Or the developer may demolish the office and a vacant 11-unit apartment house on one of the adjacent parcels to make way for a new apartment complex.

“We’re looking at a combination of possibilities,” Cox said.

Development would conform with the city’s recent general plan update, he said. The east Santa Monica neighborhood that was formerly an industrial center is in the path of planned light rail service and is gentrifying.

“It’s turning into kind of a hipster location,” Cox said.


Tenants sublet Fox Interactive Media offices at Playa Vista

NBCUniversal to stay and expand in Universal City skyscraper

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: Former Recording Academy headquarters in Santa Monica. Credit: Christina House 

Tenants sublet Fox Interactive Media offices at Playa Vista

Bluffs at Playa Vista

Three tenants have agreed to move into 57,000 square feet of never-occupied office space in the Bluffs at Playa Vista as subtenants of Fox Interactive Media.

CyberCoders, a recruiting and job search firm, contracted for a nearly 10-year sublease and moved in last month. Discus Dental will begin a more than four-year sublease in October, and Rovi –- a digital entertainment technology firm –- will move into the building at the end of 2011 to begin a five-year sublease, brokerage Cushman & Wakefield said.

Landlord JP Morgan Asset Management acquired the two‐building office project formerly known as Horizon at Playa Vista in February and renamed it the Bluffs at Playa Vista. Fox agreed to rent the entire complex before it was completed in 2009 but only moved into one of its nine floors.

The buildings are at the intersection of Bluff Creek Drive and Campus Center Drive, south of Marina del Rey.


Commercial real estate in weak recovery, Realtors say 

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: The Bluffs at Playa Vista office complex. Credit: Lincoln Property Co. 

NBCUniversal to stay and expand in Universal City skyscraper

Universal NBCUniversal has renewed its lease – and will substantially expand its office quarters – in a Universal City high-rise that bears its name on top.

The entertainment giant has been connected to the building called 10 Universal City Plaza since it was built by company predecessor MCA Inc. and Texaco Inc. in 1984. At 35 stories, the tower on Lankershim Boulevard visible from the Hollywood Freeway is the tallest in the San Fernando Valley.

NBCUniversal and the skyscraper’s landlord, Normandy Real Estate Partners of Morristown, N.J., declined provide details of the lease but real estate data provider CoStar Group and people familiar with the agreement who were not authorized to speak publicly filled in details.

NBCUniversal will expand from 288,000 square feet to about 370,000 square feet in a 10-year deal valued between $170 million and $210 million, they said. It will be several months before NBCUniversal expands into all of its space.

The dark granite-clad tower was known as the Texaco Building for many years when it housed the oil company’s western headquarters. Texaco and Shell combined U.S. refining and marketing operations in a new company named Equilon in the late 1990s and Equilon moved its local offices to Burbank.


CoreLogic to move headquarters to Irvine

Robert Redford to move local Sundance office to Miracle Mile

Photo:  10 Universal City Plaza.   Credit: Normandy Real Estate Partners

Simmons to open Victorville furniture factory, start hiring in October

Stirling Capital Investments UFI Facility Cropped Hiring and manufacturing will begin shortly at a new plant in Victorville, where Simmons sofas and other home furnishings will be made.

Simmons’ parent company, United Furniture Industries, has signed a lease for more than 500,000 square feet of space at the Southern California Logistics Centre, a former military base near U.S. 395 and the 15 Freeway that is being turned into a freight transportation hub.

The price of the nine-year lease was not disclosed, but real estate experts familiar with San Bernardino County industrial properties valued the deal at about $16 million.

United Furniture, which is based in Okolona, Miss., said the Victorville manufacturing and distribution center will serve Southern California and other markets in the West.

The company will hire more than 100 workers starting in October and expand the staff to about 400 within the next three or four years, spokesman Bob Cottam said. Recruitment will begin with a local job fair next month.

“UFI has a history of making every effort possible to procure goods and services in the local communities where we have a manufacturing presence,” Cottam said. “We are excited about the prospects for our success in the Western United States and this new facility in the California High Desert.”

United Furniture’s other manufacturing centers are in Mississippi and North Carolina. Southern California Logistics Centre, which includes airplane runways and rail connections, is being developed on 2,500 acres of the former George Air Force Base by landlord Stirling Capital Investments.

Other businesses there include Rubbermaid, General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, FedEx, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and M&M/Mars.

Texas-based Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. opened a plant there last year to bottle beverages such as 7UP, A&W root beer, Sunkist orange soda and Hawaiian Punch.

After United Furniture moves in, Victorville’s industrial property vacancy rate will fall to 7%, a big drop from more than 30% in early 2009, according to brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.


AllPoints Communications building sold

Aircraft and autos drive up demand for U.S. factory goods

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: United Furniture Industries future home in Victorville.  Credit: Stirling Capital Investments

Robert Redford to move local Sundance office to Miracle Mile

Variety building Actor and director Robert Redford has agreed to move the California office of his Sundance Institute a short distance from Beverly Hills to the Variety Building in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles.

The Sundance Institute, a nonprofit organization founded by Redford to discover and support independent film and theater artists, has leased the eighth floor of 5900 Wilshire Blvd., a high-rise located across the street from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

“As our year-round programs continue to grow, we needed more space and an open, creative environment that could adapt to our needs,” said Keri Putnam, executive director of the institute.

Financial terms of the 10-year lease for 14,279 square feet were not disclosed, but landlord the Ratkovich Co. asks for rents between $2.75 and $2.95 per square foot per month for space in the building, according to real estate data provider CoStar.

Improvements to the new space will begin immediately to prepare for Sundance’s move in the winter. The institute now occupies 10,300 feet in a Wilshire Boulevard building just east of La Cienega Boulevard, CoStar said.

Its new home will be a 30-story tower designed by noted Los Angeles architect William Pereira and completed in 1971 that had fallen out of favor with tenants before Los Angeles developer Wayne Ratkovich bought it in 2005.

Ratkovich, who has renovated several historic Los Angeles-area properties including the landmark Deco-style Wiltern Theater and the elaborately decorated Fine Arts Building, spent more than $34 million restoring and improving Pereira’s modern-style tower.

Tenants include Variety magazine and its parent company Reed Business Information, broadcaster 100.3 the Sound and Los Angeles Magazine.


CoreLogic to move headquarters to Irvine

Commercial real estate in weak recovery, Realtors say 

-- Roger Vincent

Photo: Office building at 5900 Wilshire before Variety magazine moved in. Credit: The Ratkovich Co. 

Retailers plan to open more stores, CB Richard Ellis reports

Rents at malls and on Main Street are low enough that a majority of retailers say they will open more stores, according to a real estate brokerage report.

Fifty-nine percent of U.S. retailers plan to expand into new locations, brokerage CB Richard Ellis reported.

The southwest, from Texas through California, was the part of the country where most retailers said they planned to grow.

“Our survey shows a significant number of retailers will be taking advantage of an opportune time for growth due to compelling rent levels -- luxury goods, wholesale clubs and discounters in particular are expected to continue to expand,” said Anthony Buono, an executive managing director at CB Richard Ellis.

Retailers have improved their financial balance sheets, closed underperforming stores, negotiated lower rents and downsized some stores, the report said.  This puts them in a much stronger position than prior to the recession. Local retailers are often still struggling but many national retailers are in a position to increase profitability as the economy and consumer spending rebound.

Expansions are planned even though the economic outlook among retailers has turned more cautious lately. Only 27% of retailers in 2011 viewed the economy as improving as compared to 35% last year. But  45% of retailers view the economy as stable compared to 35% last year, with 27% of retailers feeling that the recovery has already occurred within their market segment.


Retail Roundup: Toys R Us, American Apparel, Sears and Costco, retail sales

California taxable sales rise in 2nd quarters of 2010 and 2011

 -- Roger Vincent


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...