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Commercial Real Estate

Trust Buys West Valley Business Park

July 02, 2002|BRAD BERTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The two business parks developed on the site of the former Hughes Aircraft Co. research plant in the west San Fernando Valley now are unified under the ownership of Multi-Employer Property Trust.

The trust bought West Hills Corporate Village in a $90-million transaction. It already owned adjacent Corporate Pointe at West Hills. The seller was Burbank-based Shamrock Holdings.

West Hills Corporate Village has 565,000 square feet of offices and is 98% leased to such tenants as Countrywide Home Loans Inc., Xerox Corp., Boeing Co., IBM Corp., Computer Associates and Pitney Bowes Inc.

The two 30-acre properties are tucked into the Santa Susana Mountains just south of the Chatsworth Lake reservoir, where Hughes engineers once developed military missiles. Private technical school DeVry University also owns and operates a campus on a portion of the former Hughes complex.

A little more than half of the 300,000 square feet at Corporate Pointe is vacant, but real estate sources said the landlord is negotiating with Tarzana-based laboratory services specialist Unilab Corp. to lease most of the empty space, much of which was the former headquarters of Coast Federal Bank.

Christopher Stirling, senior vice president with the trust's investment advisor, Kennedy Associates Real Estate Counsel, acknowledged that a lease covering "most of the remaining available space" is nearly final. A spokesman for Unilab, which has agreed to merge with New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics Inc., declined to comment.

Seattle-based Kennedy Associates oversees real estate investment activities for the $3-billion Multi-Employer Property Trust, whose primary beneficiaries are union pension funds.

The West Valley's overall office vacancy rate, including sublease availabilities, was just under 15% at the end of March, according to brokerage Colliers Seeley. Rents have fallen slightly from the peaks reached a year or two ago.

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