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Joint Venture Buys, to Redo Sanwa Building

January 29, 1989|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Curtis Hendrix, an East Coast real estate entrepreneur, and Charterhouse Group International, a diversified investment group representing European financial institutions, have purchased the 13-story Sanwa Bank Building at 612 S. Flower St. and announced plans to renovate at a cost, including acquisition, of $135 million.

The purchase, from a division of a telephone company that owned the 40-year-old building (Sanwa owns Lloyds Bank, which is a tenant), represents the first of many planned by the joint venture, known as Charter Hendrix.

It is a major West Coast expansion of Hendrix's investment activities and signals Charterhouse's entry into real estate. The 15-year-old group has invested until now in more than 30 companies in a wide range of industries. (Last March, Aaron Bros. Art Marts, the nation's largest specialty retailer of picture frames and art supplies, agreed to be purchased by a newly formed company called Bridgehead Inc., which is a group of investors led by Charterhouse.)

During the past decade, Hendrix, a native of New York, has bought and sold several high-rise office buildings, 3 million additional square feet of office space and more than 15,000 apartments along the Eastern Seaboard.

Of his venturing now to California, he said: "I think it's clear to most of us in real estate that California, particularly Southern California, is an important place for the business community. We perceive the state as having tremendous stability and appreciation."

Through Charter Hendrix, he expects to acquire other properties in San Francisco, West Los Angeles, Rancho California and Palo Alto. Since the Sanwa Bank Building purchase, the group already bought a site at 8th and Flower streets for construction of a high-rise office building.

Gin Wong Associates of Beverly Hills will redesign 612 S. Flower St., which occupies a full block, or 1.08 acres, between Wilshire Boulevard and 6th Street in the heart of the downtown financial district. Peck-Jones will be the general contractor. Hendrix expects work to start there within 90 days.

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