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California

Countrywide Buys Thousand Oaks Office Building

Real estate: The rapidly growing mortgage firm pays Adler Realty $29 million for the property.

September 30, 2002|BRAD BERTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

As the mortgage-lending boom continues at a rapid pace, industry giant Countrywide Home Loans continues to acquire office space near its Calabasas headquarters.

The latest transaction is its $29-million purchase of a Thousand Oaks office building built in 1983 to be the headquarters of Exxon Corp.'s domestic oil and gas unit. The new building is about 15 miles west of Countrywide's Calabasas campus.

The Countrywide Credit Industries Inc. subsidiary bought the 157,000-square-foot building known as Thousand Oaks Corporate Centre from Adler Realty Investments of Woodland Hills. Adler bought the property on West Hillcrest Drive in late 2000 for $24.2 million.

The five-story building near the Oaks and Janss Marketplace shopping centers sits on a 12.5-acre site that can accommodate additional development.

Countrywide Executive Vice President Patrick Benton said company operations including Countrywide Bank will take over offices as the leases of existing tenants expire--or sooner if certain tenants agree to vacate.

Tenants include Homestore Inc., Digital Island and the headquarters of the Baja Fresh restaurant chain.

The building's quality and proximity to Countrywide's headquarters and other nearby operations were strong attractions for a company growing at an "exorbitant" pace, Benton said. Travers Realty negotiated the transaction on behalf of Countrywide.

Countrywide purchased two former Litton Industries office buildings totaling 160,500 square feet in nearby Agoura Hills in July at an estimated price of about $24 million.

The company expects to occupy a portion of that complex by the end of the year.

Countrywide now occupies three office buildings in the Calabasas area and owns and leases additional office space in Simi Valley, Moorpark and West Hills. The company grew from 17,300 employees to nearly 24,000 employees in a 12-month period ending in August.

With mortgage rates approaching record lows, Countrywide's mortgage-loan "pipeline" reached a record $42.1 billion in August-- 35% higher than the July level and 121% higher than in August 2001.

Countrywide stock closed down $1.03 Friday at $47.41 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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