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Latest in Series of Santa Monica Investments : Southmark Corp. Buys GTE Building

July 03, 1986|BARBARA BAIRD | Times Staff Writer

Southmark Pacific Corp., in the latest in a series of major commercial investments in Santa Monica, has acquired the landmark high-rise office building that served for many years as the corporate headquarters of General Telephone Co.

Southmark officials refused to disclose the purchase price, but a minimum offer of $50 million was established for the sale of the building.

In the past 18 months, Southmark has made several investments in Santa Monica.

In January, 1985, it took over Colorado Place, a 15-acre commercial development, and since then it has purchased an additional 11 acres to be developed in conjunction with the project.

Other Purchases

Southmark also bought the Carlsberg Corp., a Santa Monica-based real estate development company, this year.

The purchase prices for those acquisitions were not made public.

"Southmark Pacific Corp. has a definite interest in the Santa Monica community," company President Paul J. Giuntini said.

Southmark has confidence in the city's "viability as a business and commercial center," and plans to strengthen the company's presence here, he said.

Southmark plans a six-month, $8.5-million remodeling of the former telephone company headquarters at 100 Wilshire Blvd., after which the building will be leased to upscale office tenants, officials said.

The building has been vacant since the telephone company finished moving its corporate offices to Thousand Oaks earlier this year. The Westside's high housing costs made it difficult to attract employees to Santa Monica, officials said.

Premier Property

Giuntini described the 21-story headquarters building, which overlooks Palisades Park and the Pacific Ocean, as "one of the premier properties in the American West."

The 230,000-square-foot tower, the tallest building in Santa Monica, was built in 1969 by Wilshire West. The offices were leased almost entirely to the telephone company, which bought the building in 1985.

The renovation will involve expanding the lobby and public areas to create a more impressive entrance in keeping with "a top-drawer, first-class building," said Southmark attorney Robbie Monsma.

The Nadel Partnership of Santa Monica will be responsible for the renovation. The construction will be undertaken by Latigo Corp., a division of Southmark Corp. of Dallas. Southmark Pacific, a subsidiary of the Dallas company, is based in Pasadena.

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