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January 5, 2011 

As we move forward in 2011, we're curious what you think are the hottest topics in the real estate world. Have an idea or topic for a future event? Send us an e-mail.


When we say some big ones hit the ground at the close of 2010, we don't mean birds in Arkansas. It's about multifamily sales. Among the largest to go down at year-end: Equity Residential’s acquisition of the 143-unit Acappella in Pasadena and its sale of two communities in Riverside and Moreno Valley.

Dean Zander

Hendricks & Partners’ Dean Zander (above), Vince Norris, and Paul Runkle had the EQR listings for the 208-unit View Pointe at 5059 Quail Run Rd in Riverside, and the 176-unit Reserve at Moreno Valley Ranch, located at 15100 Moreno Beach Dr in Rancho Belago. Dean tells us both properties were offered free and clear of debt, which allowed the buyer to capitalize on historically low interest rates. They were purchased by Friedkin Realty Group, a large private capital buyer in San Francisco. The transactions represented two of the Inland Empire’s largest institutional sales last year.

Vince Norris
Vince notes investors are attracted to the Inland Empire because of intense cap rate compression within the coastal and downtown areas of LA and Orange counties. The trio conducted 55 property tours, which generated nearly 30 qualified offers from private investors as well as institutions. A recorded tract map will allow for future condo sales at View Pointe, which was built in 1998 and 99% leased at close of escrow. Built in 2005, the Reserve is adjacent to the Moreno Valley Ranch Golf Course and was 95% leased at close of escrow. Both are garden-style communities situated on 26- and 10-acre tracts, respectively, with amenities like business and fitness centers, resort-style pools, and, at View Pointe, a tennis court.
EQR’s newly acquired Acappella

Vince and Dean also were the listing brokers for EQR’s newly acquired Acappella (above), one of the tri-cities’ largest apartment transactions last year. The property, located in Pasadena at 145 Chestnut and 160 Corson streets, was sold by a Pa.-based pension fund adviser. They say the sale underscores the strong and continued demand for well-located, institutional-quality assets, noting Acappella is walking distance to the restaurant-rich Old Town and was built in 2002, making it one of Pasadena’s newer communities. In addition, Vince notes the property had fully amortizing fixed-rate, FHA debt in place. With equity outpacing available offerings, the market continues to see significant cap rate compression. And, Dean adds, it also helps that investors are finally able to underwrite and value significant rent-growth projections.



Robert Charles Lesser CEO Gadi Kaufmann

The thumbs will be flying Tuesday, Jan. 11 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, when ULI’s LA District Council and the Ziman Center debut a new real estate conference. Co-chair Gadi Kaufmann, CEO of Robert Charles Lesser, tells us organizers “delved into our deep, collective brain trust” to create the first-annual VantageForum. Top CEOs in housing, retail, commercial, capital markets, and more will share their insights on the economy and forecast market trends. The daylong event has been designed for maximum audience/speaker interaction, including live texting to moderators and panelists and a full range of “instant polls.” The conference’s theme is “Engage with Authority.” According to Gadi, VantageForum participants will walk away “with an enhanced sense of their own authority and knowledge.” To register: www.vantageforum.org or (213) 542-4694.




Watt Commercial Properties kicked off its latest retail rehab with a $6M renovation of Alicia Towne Plaza in Mission Viejo. The project includes converting an existing two-level, 84k SF Mervyns into a smaller retail space for L.A. Fitness. (Watt signed a 15-year lease with the fitness chain after the department store went belly-up in 2008.) According to Watt CEO Jim Maginn, the health club, which will primarily be located on the lower floor, will be a “solid anchor tenant” for the center. The deal continues the firm’s relationship with L.A. Fitness, which is opening in another Watt center in Harbor City by the end of the month. The 150k SF center also will get an architectural upgrade designed in the Moorish style of Spain’s Andalusia region by Architects Orange. But Watt’s not done yet. Later this year, it expects to break ground on a phased redevelopment of Edinger Plaza in Huntington Beach. They're still spinning the globe on what region that will be modeled after.


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