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COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

Crown Realty Buys Fox Hills Complex, Plans New Building

August 22, 2000|BRAD BERTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Crown Realty & Development has purchased the 21-acre Wateridge Park office complex in the Fox Hills district near Culver City for about $50 million--nearly 80% more than the property's last sale price less than three years ago.

With demand for office space strong throughout the Westside, Newport Beach-based Crown Realty plans to increase the complex's value by adding a 200,000-square-foot structure.

Crown Realty Chairman Jamie Sohacheski and President Robert Flaxman said the five-story building should take less than a year to complete. The business park can also accommodate an additional 95,000-square-foot office building.

Bank of America helped finance the property acquisition and is providing construction financing for the new phase. No tenants have been signed so far. The developers hope to attract tenants by incorporating such features as computer-ready outdoor workstations, pitch-and-putt golf and hammocks alongside a stream.

Wateridge's decade-old first phase includes four buildings totaling about 330,000 square feet in a campus-like setting along the north side of Slauson Avenue near La Cienega Boulevard.

Sellers Legacy Partners Commercial and a real estate opportunity fund managed by Goldman Sachs & Co. purchased the Wateridge property for about $28 million in late 1997. Rents within the business park--which was 40% vacant at that time--averaged $15 to $16 per square foot annually, recalled Colliers Seeley Senior Vice President Steve Solomon, who brokered last week's sale along with Colliers Seeley Managing Director Mike Ross.

Wateridge is now 98% occupied and the latest leases have been around $2.50 per square foot per month, Solomon and Ross said.

Flaxman identified USA Networks subsidiary Styleclick.com as the latest large tenant to lease space at Wateridge. The online retailing consultant took 23,000 square feet.

Crown Realty, which developed the Venice Crossing shopping center at Venice and Culver boulevards, presumably had sufficient cash on hand to purchase Wateridge. The firm just sold its Stadium Crossing office and retail property in Anaheim for $36.2 million.

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