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Real Estate Bisnow
The largest commercial real estate publication in the United States.
March 27, 2012 

Down But Not Out

Last chance! Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, March 28 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza for our look at Redevelopment: The Way Forward. Register here.

What’s filling the void now that California’s redevelopment agencies have been sent to that big public counter in the sky? At Bisnow’s LA Redevelopment: The Way Forward tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, we’ll hear from panelists like the Kosmont Cos’ Larry Kosmont, who recently did a lease-leaseback on a commercial property on the Redondo Beach Pier.
Yesterday, Larry told us he's working on new financing techniques for economic development to replace redevelopment. The lease-leaseback loan proceeds from the Redondo Beach deal will be used to acquire the property, part of a waterfront redevelopment program: “We did a lease-leaseback in order to make the financing for the city work.” Larry just wrapped up a term as interim city administrator in Montebello, getting the city back on financial track in just 10 months. But he tells us Montebello faces the same challenges as other cities. With the loss of redevelopment, his firm’s being retained to provide asset strategies for various redevelopment agency successor entities and oversight committees. Speaking of assets, the latest and, Larry says, final addition to his family is 15-month-old daughter Morgan. It's your last chance to sign up for the big event tomorrow.
Reznick (Know) JLA

Hooray for Hollywood isn’t just a song, it’s also a growing mantra. This morning we chatted with Champion Real Estate Co’s Bob Champion, who recently bought his second property in Tinseltown: 1717 Cherokee and 1718 Las Palmas. A one-acre commercial parking lot purchased from The Common fund, fronting on both streets. Among the pros: It’s 120 feet north of Hollywood Blvd and close to amenities like the Geisha House, the Metro station, and Hollywood and Highland. Craving a martini? “Musso & Frank’s is right in front of it.” He hasn’t decided on the project’s uses since the City Council is finalizing its review of Hollywood’s community plan update, but he’d like to see the zoning remain high-density mixed-use residential and retail. On the other hand, he tells us he bought the property based on its parking income, “so I wouldn’t mind just having a parking lot.”
There’s more news at the One Westwood vertical power center that Bob developed some years back: PetSmart recently took space not only for a store but also for a pet hotel and hospital. Bob bought his other Hollywood property (one block west and south of Hollywood Blvd) for $20M. His plans there call for a mixed-use “uniform development,” meaning a project with multiple uses on multiple parcels, tied together with a common softscape and hardscape “so that it has the appearance of being somehow all connected.” Submitted are plans for two buildings with a restaurant along Highland and 250 apartment units, of which 25 will be set aside for student housing for the Musicians Institute. Bob says the purchase included several properties that the contemporary music school is leasing. While the company’s in escrow to sell them to the school, he says the Institute will remain part of the new development plan.

Only the naive think March Madness is for crowning the kings of college basketball. It's actually for get-togethers like NAIOP SoCal’s March Madness mixer, last Thursday at the ESPN Zone at LA Live. The Final Four weren’t there, but we snapped this other foursome: ML Kimbrough & Associates' Michael Kimbrough, Dudley & Associates president Sayres Dudley (visiting from Texas), HFF’s Mike McCann, and Prologis Southwest Region president Kim Snyder.
We also took this of Shea Properties’ Brian Meihaus, Sheppard Mullin’s Pam Westhoff, Wells Fargo’s Cathy Foley, AIG Investments’ Jim Mosier, and Shea’s Jon Marchiorlatti. Cathy told us she filled out her brackets and has Kentucky winning—she just studied it and “looked at the Las Vegas odds.” Kudos to Pam for running the LA Marathon this month. In addition, she said things are getting busier in real estate with a lot more deals happening. Speaking of busy, Pam’s son is getting married in October.
Two NAIOP SoCal past presidents: American Realty Advisors’ Greg Blomstrand and Faris Lee Investments’ Terry Thompson. Normally, Greg’s brackets are completely annihilated by now. He’s got Michigan State in one and Kentucky in the other: “I think I essentially just threw a dart on the wall.”
Less is more, except when it comes to your real estate news. Send it to julie@bisnow.com.
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