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Real Estate Bisnow
The largest commercial real estate publication in the United States.
January 17, 2012 
The Big Red One

Our big time LA State of the Market is coming, Jan. 25 to the Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills. See our preview with panelist Gary Weiss, a principal in LA Realty Partners, below, then sign up today!

LA Realty Partners principal Gary Weiss reps 1.5M SF of Class-A office space for two heavyweight owners. (So we're proud to have landed him down to speak at our LA State of the Market next Wednesday. Don't forget to sign up.) One is Constellation Place, the former MGM Tower in Century City for JMB Realty Corp, which is about 20% vacant. Can you guess the other?
It's the new Red Building at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, which is set to open imminently. Gary, along with fellow principal Peter Best and director Grant Newman, is leasing the landmark Cesar Pelli-designed building on behalf of owner/developer Charles S. Cohen (who has already reserved a primo penthouse space in the RedBuilding’s East Tower for his West Coast offices... is that cheating?). LA Realty Partners took over the assignment in November from Cushman & Wakefield. The firm is also leasing 60k SF of office space in the PDC’s Green Building. In addition, Gary’s working on a bunch of tenant requirements, including a charter school, a biotech startup, a media company startup, and a wealth-management firm, as well as a couple of acquisitions on the Westside and SF Valley. He and his wife of 23 years have two teens: a 19-year-old daughter in college and a 16-year-old son who’s a high school baseball player. Gary’s also on the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s LA Chapter.

Normally (and usually to our own detriment) we let the pundits do the predicting, but we predict CBRE’s Mike Smith’s golf clubs become a bit dusty in the foreseeable future. He’s just been named president of the real estate services giant’s Western Division, taking over from newly promoted COO of the Americas Steve Swerdlow. Before this, Mike led CBRE’s San Francisco Bay Area operations (and will continue as Bay Area market leader until a successor is picked). In his new role, he’s responsible for all business lines, including facilities management, project management, asset services, valuation, debt and equity finance, consulting, and of course the biggest business line—brokerage—and P&L in more than 46 offices from Denver West to Hawaii.
Mike tells us there’s no question CRE in the Western US is in recovery right now, though it’s all really dependent on unemployment and where new hiring is taking place. The San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley are active, along with Seattle to a certain extent. “The rest of the West is falling in line” from a standpoint of slow growth (or recovery, however one puts it). Mike’s plans for the Western Div? Keep growing the company’s existing business lines and getting more efficient. “CBRE is well-positioned to address client needs based on the global economy that we’re looking at today.” This means there’ll be more and more outsourcing.
Watch out behind you! Under Mike’s leadership, CBRE grew into the Bay Area’s top commercial RE service firm—two to three times bigger than its nearest competitor from an overall revenue standpoint. He’s a native of SoCal, born and raised in Coronado. He started out in property management with The Koll Co in 1980, worked for CBRE from ’82 to ’90, then spent 19 years as an industrial broker with San Diego’s John Burnham & Co (now part of Cushman & Wakefield) before returning to CBRE in the Bay Area in 1999 to work in management. In his free time, Mike loves to ski with his kids and is also an avid golfer.

No, this isn’t Mel’s Diner from Happy Days. It’s Menchie’s, one of the fastest-growing franchises in the restaurant biz. A local franchisee of the self-serve frozen yogurt company just signed leases for the first two locations in Orange County. The new stores will be opening in April at 1267 N Tustin St in Orange and at 15333 Culver Dr in Irvine this summer. (We used the Bisnow time machine to snap this pic.) Present Value Properties’ Ryan Gast repped both parties in the Orange deal and the franchisee in the Irvine deal. (Green Light Consulting's Ken Park repped landlord The Irvine Co in the latter.) According to Ryan, the scoop on Menchie’s is that it offers the purest and creamiest flavors “featuring live and active cultures” (for those who like a little opera with their frozen dessert). Customers choose their yogurt (from among 100-plus rotating flavors) and toppings (from among 70 rotating choices), and pay by the ounce.

First McDonald’s did away with trans fats in their fries, now this: A Riverside McDonald’s has become the first Mickey D's west of the Mississippi to earn LEED Gold. The 44-year-old restaurant (2242 University Ave) was rebuilt in 2010 with a full menu of water and energy saving features—enough to power 17 average-sized Riverside homes per month and fill eight swimming pools. Above, Ronald McDonald and Riverside's Mayor McCheese, er, Ron Loveridge (second from right), congratulate franchise owners Tom and Candace Spiel (second and third from left). The happy mood was short-lived, however, when the Hamburglar stole the LEED plaque.
Where do you go for a fast-food fix? Let us know: Julie@bisnow.com.
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