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Santa Monica Office Tower Purchased by Japanese Firm

July 05, 1987|BARBARA BAIRD | Times Staff Writer

Southmark Pacific Corp. has announced the sale of Santa Monica's tallest building, 100 Wilshire, to a Japanese real estate investment company.

The 21-story office tower was acquired just last year by Southmark Pacific, which conducted a $12-million renovation and reopened the building to tenants in April.

The sale to Japanese investors was confirmed by officials from Southmark Pacific and by the San Francisco-based Bank of America Investment Real Estate Group, which represented the buyer in the transaction. But neither Southmark Pacific nor Bank of America would disclose further details of the sale.

General Telephone Headquarters

The building, located at 100 Wilshire Blvd., was completed in 1971 and for 14 years served as corporate headquarters for General Telephone Co. of California.

Southmark Pacific, a Pasadena-based subsidiary of Southmark Corp. of Dallas, acquired the building from the telephone company in June, 1986. That purchase price was not made public, but officials said the minimum bid was set at $50 million.

The new owner of 100 Wilshire is the Tokyo-based Asahi Urban Development Corp., according to a source who asked to remain anonymous.

No Confirmation of Sale Price

Reports that the building was sold for $73 million could not be confirmed.

The sale of 100 Wilshire is one of several major purchases of United States commercial property made in recent months by Japanese investors, sources said.

Japanese businesses are expected to invest about $5 billion in American real estate in 1987 because of rapidly escalating real estate costs in Japan, said Jack S. Cooper of Bank of America's investment real estate group.

Santa Monica's 100 Wilshire is the third major property sold to Japanese investors through Bank of America's investment property division this year, he said.

Cooper said that the company that has acquired 100 Wilshire was attracted by its proximity to Los Angeles International Airport, Century City and downtown Los Angeles and by its magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains.

Rita Rae Prelvitz, a Southmark Pacific spokeswoman, said the company did not acquire 100 Wilshire with the intention of selling it so quickly, but the company received many unsolicited inquiries on the property.

"We did not put the property up for sale," she said. "We did not list it. But from the time we started renovating it with a fairly major architectural change, enclosing the entire ground floor as a glass atrium lobby, there has been a lot of interest in the property."

Quick Bid

Company President Paul J. Giuntini said Southmark Pacific anticipated the building would be attractive to tenants and investors, "but could not have predicted the immediacy with which we would be made a firm offer worthy of our consideration."

Southmark Pacific's $12-million remodeling of 252,000 square feet of offices included the rehabilitation of all interior finishes and systems including new heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

The glass-enclosed lobby features a contemporary glass waterfall and a large sculptural work by artist Laddie John Dill.

Tenants include Sumitomo Bank, A-Mark Financial and O'Neil & Lysaght.

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