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Summit Buys Oakland High-Rise

March 18, 2003|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles real estate investment company Summit Commercial Properties said Monday that it bought Kaiser Center, a high-rise office building in Oakland, for about $100 million.

Built by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser in 1960, the 28-story tower was to be the centerpiece of a sprawling commercial development on Lake Merritt that was never completed. As part of the acquisition, from Kaiser Aluminum Corp.'s bankruptcy estate, Summit bought the rights to build an additional 1.5 million square feet.

"Kaiser Center presented a rare opportunity to acquire a landmark property at a good price that has considerable upside potential," said Jack Mahoney, president of Summit Commercial Properties. "We will restore the complex to regain its prominence among the premier buildings in the Bay Area."

Summit is analyzing what type of buildings it wants to develop on the 7.5-acre Kaiser site, Mahoney said.

Summit also owns Dublin Corporate Center in the East Bay and the Pacific Plaza office complex on the San Francisco peninsula. It recently acquired Commerce Office Park near downtown Los Angeles.

The 766,000-square-foot Kaiser office tower is 85% occupied and is home to such tenants as IBM, the University of California regents and California Bank & Trust. It includes 130,000 square feet of retail space.

Los Angeles architect Welton Becket designed Kaiser Center for the late Henry Kaiser, whose shipyards produced more than 1,500 cargo ships in World War II, fed in part by his Kaiser Steel mill in Fontana. He also founded the managed medical care program that bears his name.

Summit is an affiliate of El Segundo-based Highridge Partners, a real estate investment and development firm.

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