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Commercial Real Estate

January 30, 1998|BRAD BERTON

Fast-expanding Arden Realty Group in Beverly Hills is expected to acquire controlling interest in another local landmark office building today--the 22-story Westwood Center tower featuring the famed Monty's steakhouse in the building's penthouse along the Westwood skyline.

Arden, which has ranked among the most active buyers of Southland commercial properties since its initial public stock offering about 15 months ago, is paying less than $30 million for controlling interest in Westwood Center, said Victor Coleman, Arden's president and chief operating officer. Arden plans to renovate the exterior and common areas such as the lobby and upgrade the property to "Class A" status in the local office market. The renovation budget has yet to be set.

The 300,000-square-foot, 1965 building at 1100 Glendon Ave., owned for decades by a group headed by the Glikbarg family, is 60% vacant, with the ground-floor retail space virtually empty. The sellers will retain a minority interest, which Coleman declined to specify. Coleman said it is a "perfect time" to buy and renovate a property in a "strong Westwood office market that's seeing rents increasing dramatically and vacancies dropping."

Arden has been buying up Southland office properties at a particularly aggressive pace in recent months, and Coleman said the company expects to continue pursuing promising acquisitions during much of 1998. On Jan. 12, Arden filed registration documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell as much as another $1 billion in common stock.

Just before announcing earlier this month that it plans to acquire the 5.2-million-square-foot LBA Properties portfolio for $614.5 million, Arden bought four noteworthy Los Angeles-area office properties, including Brentwood's 25-story World Savings Center. Arden subsequently purchased the 9100 Wilshire Blvd. complex in Beverly Hills--where the company has its headquarters--and the Sunset Medical tower at 9201 Sunset Blvd.

In a separate development, Arden posted net income of $13.2 million, or 37 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter, compared with net income of $10.1 million, or 31 cents, in the year-ago quarter. During the fourth quarter, Arden purchased 14 properties at a total cost of $447 million.

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