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Venice office complex acquired by DLJ

DLJ buys the Venice office complex at 901 Abbot Kinney Blvd. that had housed the headquarters of legendary furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames.

July 16, 2012|By Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times
  • The high-rise office building at 400 S. Hope St. in downtown Los Angeles has been acquired by CBRE Global Investors, an affiliate of Los Angeles real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc. The price of the sale by New York investors Tishman Speyer and BlackRock Inc. was not disclosed, but downtown real estate experts familiar with the property valued it at $236 million. The new owners intend to improve the building, including adding a high-end restaurant, and find additional tenants, real estate broker Kevin Shannon of CBRE Group said.
The high-rise office building at 400 S. Hope St. in downtown Los Angeles…

A century-old red brick office complex in Venice that once housed the business of legendary furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames has been sold to New York investors who plan to improve the property.

The husband-and-wife Eames team were among the most famous designers of the 20th century, creating popular modernist pieces, including a curvy leather-and-plywood lounger, that were widely embraced in the decades after World War II and are still sold today.

DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners bought the building at 901 Abbot Kinney Blvd. from NextEngine Ventures for $13 million, according to sale documents.

The new owners will do some minor restoration of the 14,275-square-foot building and work to find additional tenants, said Andy Rifkin, managing partner of DLJ. It has been used lately by post-production and special effects businesses.

Venice offices are attracting technology firms including Google Inc. as well as "fashion and design types," Rifkin said.

The Eameses took over the front three rooms of the former Bay Cities Garage in 1943, when the 901 address was still part of Washington Boulevard. Eames products were also manufactured there until the1950s.

The couple's office was at its peak from the early 1950s until Charles' death in 1978, although the Eames' firm remained in the building for an additional decade.

DLJ's acquisition is part of the company's strategy to buy and restore vintage properties, Rifkin said. The company bought the historic Taft Building at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in December and is working on a $15-million retrofit of the office tower completed in 1923.

It is also developing a shopping-and-apartment complex with 1,000 units called Blvd 6200 near Hollywood and Vine with Clarett West Development.

Downtown L.A. high-rise is sold

A high-rise office building on Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles has been acquired by CBRE Global Investors, an affiliate of Los Angeles real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc.

CBRE Global bought the building at 400 S. Hope St., a 26-story tower at the southeast corner of Hope and 4th Street. The price of the sale by New York investors Tishman Speyer and BlackRock Inc. was not disclosed, but downtown real estate experts familiar with the property valued it at $236 million.

The 700,000-square-foot building was completed in 1982 to be the headquarters of law firm O'Melveny & Myers. It was more recently known as Mellon Bank Center. The law firm and the bank are still tenants in the building, which is about 80% occupied.

The new owners intend to improve the building and find additional tenants, real estate broker Kevin Shannon of CBRE Group said. The addition of a high-end restaurant will be among the improvements.

"Their goal is add value and stabilize the asset," Shannon said.

Downtown is growing in popularity for tenants as the area's residential renaissance brings new restaurants and other businesses to the financial core.

"The desire for the central business district is very much stronger than it was a year or two ago," he said.

Glendale investors buy L.A. Mart complex

L.A. Mart, a 12-story complex in downtown Los Angeles, has been purchased for about $55 million by Glendale investors.

The 784,000-square-foot property at 1933 S. Broadway is a combination design center, office and showroom, real estate brokerage Madison Partners said. It serves the interior design, gift and home furnishing industries.

Los Angeles County also leases more than 140,000 square feet of office space at L.A. Mart.

Vornado Realty Trust sold the property to a limited liability corporation called PHR LA Mart. Glendale physician Ara Tavitian is president of PHR.

"Our vision for L.A. Mart is to invigorate the business by leveraging our success in operating commercial properties that attract buyers and sellers," Tavitian said.

The mart spans nearly two blocks just south of the 10 Freeway and was 60% occupied at the time of the sale.

roger.vincent@latimes.com

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