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Wells Fargo to Take Ownership of Downtown L.A.'s 707 Wilshire

April 20, 2001|BRAD BERTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Banking giant Wells Fargo & Co. is buying out its partner to take ownership of one of downtown Los Angeles' signature high-rises, the 62-story 707 Wilshire tower. Wells Fargo has agreed to pay the other longtime co-owner, Equitable Life Assurance Society, about $47.5 million for its half-interest in the building, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman confirmed.

The 707 tower ranked among the tallest in the West after its completion in 1974. It was First Interstate Bancorp's headquarters for about 15 years. FIB retained a half-stake in the tower after moving in 1989.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo acquired FIB in 1996 and retains a substantial presence downtown. Wells Fargo leases or owns about 3.6 million square feet in and around the central business district, including about 170,000 square feet in the 707 tower.

Broker Kevin Dretzka of Wells Fargo affiliate Eastdil Realty represented Wells Fargo in the transaction. Martin Morgenstern of Cushman Realty Corp. represented Equitable, which has been looking to sell its stakes in several large office properties across the country.

The 707 building is about 80% occupied, with insurance company Aon Corp. and Los Angeles County agencies among the tenants. The price values the high-rise at about $95 per square foot. Prime office properties on the Westside, where vacancies are much lower and rents much higher, have recently fetched more than $300 per square foot and occasionally even $400.

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