January 5, 2015

Chris Rising Just Couldn't Fight it

The last thing Chris Rising wanted to do with his life was get involved in real estate. He tried his hand at law, acting and even coaching football. But eventually, Chris caught the bug, and now he and his iconic father run one of the more exciting outfits in LA.

Chris started Rising Realty Partners with dad Nelson Rising in 2012, and the two have already made some splashy moves. The first two notable deals: a $200M buy from Bank of America, which included 1.75M SF of office mostly in the greater Valley region, and PacMutual, which the company bought for $60M with NY financial partner Mount Kellett Capital. Chris tells us the BofA buy, which was all old Countrywide Financial offices, was done mostly to turn around and sell assets, while funding major renovations on a couple of the buildings (including a coming mixed-use in Simi Valley).

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Chris (snapped playing chess with Richard Branson) started his real estate career with John Cushman, tying his legal background in as his chief of staff. Chris says it was a great entry point to the industry, and it was important for him to build his own name separate from his well-known dad, who was running Catellus Development at the time. Chris went on to start his own company, and in 2008, the two first worked together with LA developer Robert Maguire, who built much of DTLA's skyline, including many of the tallest buildings in the city. Chris says his dad got into real estate through politics. (Chris is actually named after Warren Christoper, Secretary of State under Bill Clinton.)

Chris tells us this is the last place he expected to be. After graduating from Duke (which he attended on a football scholarship), he returned to LA to teach history and coach the team at Loyola High School, his alma mater. That was followed by law school and a year of practice. And that was followed by one of those "What am I going to do with my life" moments, he says. So (naturally) he looked to Hollywood, exploring acting, writing and producing. That didn't stick either. He found the love for real estate in the creative process of a film producer. Take PacMutual, which Chris holds near and dear. 

Chris (snapped on Necker Island with wife Anna-Christine and children Annelise, John-Carl and Arianne) says the project is all about the future and catering to the younger demographic. He believes Millennials are making the rules in business, and offering more connectivity and the ability to work in open and mobile environments is crucial. Nelson and Chris gave us a tour of the project. The landmark DTLA property at 523 6th is three connected buildings that were built between 1908 and 1926. Rising Realty budgeted about $15M for a reno, which Chris says brought the old property up to the 21st century. It has since attracted some major tech and entertainment tenants, including the global HQ of Nasty Gal and Gifts.com. Chris tells us a spinoff of a major LA law firm is coming to the campus soon.

Chris says some of his best modernization work was at the Old Pasadena Plaza on Raymond Avenue, where the duo teamed up with Internet entrepreneur David Sacks to bring WiFi and modern office accoutrement to Old Town Pasadena. Chris says the next step for Rising Realty is diversification, including controlling its own money, so a financial partner doesn't need to be brought in for every major deal. Expect the firm to open up shop in S.F. this year. You can also hear Chris, who's speaking at our 5th Annual Los Angeles State of the Market next week. Sign up here.

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New deals for the New Year? Send news to Elliot Golan, elliot.golan@bisnow.com