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January 3, 2011 

Happy New Year! 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.

Two deals are better than one, especially for the Rubicon Project. The digital advertising technology firm extended its 20k SF lease at 1925 S. Bundy Dr in West LA, and also signed a new 34k SF lease next door at 1933 S. Bundy to house its recently acquired Fox Audience Network.
Dave Toomey (above) and Brian Davies of CresaPartners’ LA office repped Rubicon. Dave tells us the acquisition of Fox Audience Network by Rubicon was "a real coup" in itself. FAN was the monetization engine of MySpace and a division of News Corp, while Rubicon is a newer company. However, it created a tight timeline for the resulting real estate transaction. After the acquisition, FAN’s technology workers were going to relocate from the Yahoo! Center in Santa Monica. Rubicon needed to house them but didn’t have any excess space in its own premises.
1925 and 1933 S. Bundy are part of a 225k SF complex consisting of former warehouses that were converted to creative office space. According to Dave, the tenant rep brokers needed to secure space adjacent to Rubicon’s location, and get it ready for occupancy, immediately after the FAN deal closed. The landlord, Westside Medical Park LLC, repped itself. CresaPartners also repped Rubicon in its move to the building, chosen because its layout allowed for an open workspace environment. Dave says the space was previously the home of Amp’d Mobile, a mobile phone service backed by MTV and Universal Music Group that filed for Chapter 11 in 2007. Rubicon moved in three years ago and its lease was scheduled to expire.
The landlord’s been trying since '02 to build a mixed-use development called Bundy Village and Medical Park (rendered above), prompting “Fight Bundy Village” signs to sprout on lawns in the neighborhood. While the owner pursues entitlements, Dave says CresaPartners has been doing short-term leases for Rubicon and FAN because the clients want flexibility and also the developer isn’t willing to tie up the property for an extended period. If it goes through with the project as planned, the developer’s unlikely to keep the buildings in their current configuration. But Dave notes that’s a long process. Meanwhile, this is a good solution for Rubicon and Fox. “It allows the two companies to immediately begin merging the two cultures.”

Multifamily continues to be the flavor of the month in the investment market. Essex Property Trust purchased a 115-unit apartment house at 416 Broadway in Glendale from a receivership estate for $43M. Taylor Grant of California Real Estate Receiverships calls the more than 20 offers a sign of continuing demand for high-quality properties in undersupplied markets. HFF’s Sean Deasy repped buyer and seller. Netherlands-based MBO originally financed the project, built as condos in 2009 and converted to rentals. 416 Broadway boasts a vacancy rate of less than 5% and is located three blocks from The Americana at Brand and Glendale Galleria. It includes 9,000 SF of ground-level retail.


Multifamily is hot, but industrial's seeing some tailwinds, too. Newport Beach-based Turner Opportunity Fund has acquired Superstition Springs Commerce Center, a 14-unit industrial condo park in Mesa, Ariz. We spoke with VP of acquisitions Bill Banks, who says Turner bought the note in a distress event from First Community Bank of New Mexico. The previous owner/developer, Superstition Springs Hospitality Group LLC, was unable to sell any units before the market stalled. However, Bill’s not superstitious about the property’s prospects. He tells us the product is extremely functional with dedicated yards for each unit—a “very appealing and somewhat scarce attribute.” Bill’s ID'd additional deals in the Phoenix area and anticipates completing one or two by the end of Q1 2011.


New Year, new deals. Tell us what's up. julie@bisnow.com.

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