A Torrance office building called South Bay Tower was sold for $52 million Tuesday to real estate investment firm Bixby Land Co.
The purchase is part of a strategy by Bixby to acquire underperforming or financially troubled commercial properties during a low point in the real estate cycle. In the last two months, the Irvine company also bought two office buildings in Silicon Valley.
"Given the downturn that we have just had, there are throughout California a number of good-quality assets that either have a broken capital structure or have occupancy that is substantially lower than would be attractive to many investors," said Bill Halford, chief executive of Bixby.
The eight-story South Bay Tower, at 21250 Hawthorne Blvd., is only 63% occupied, and Bixby plans to spend about $6 million to improve the landscaping, lobby and other common areas in an effort to attract more renters.
Typical tenants in central Torrance are service firms such as lawyers and investment managers who need outposts to serve clients from the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Manhattan Beach, Halford said. Bixby will create ready-made office suites as small as 2,000 square feet.
Tenants in the building include Bank of America, Wells Fargo Insurance, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Hyundai and the Daily Breeze newspaper.
The 292,000-square-foot tower was completed in 1988 for CCH Computax, said real estate broker Kevin Shannon of CBRE Group Inc. who represented the seller, TA Associates Realty.