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What's in Santa's Bag for 2015?

With investment sale prices at pre-recession levels and Westside office leasing markets on fire, it looks like Santa will be bringing LA's commercial real estate industry another active year. That's why we're excited to host Bisnow's 5th Annual LA State of the Market on Jan. 14 at the JW Marriott at LA Live, starting at 8am. (Sign up here.) 

For Avison Young principal/SoCal managing director Chris Cooper (with daughter Kelsey at the Cal vs Stanford game), the great unknown is whether creatives will migrate to DTLA as the urban core continues to expand its live/work/play environment. There's a lot of talk about converting some of the Downtown skyscrapers into creative space, which means more than just pulling out the ceiling tiles, but actually creating a vertical campus. One thing in Downtown's favor: The Millennials and Gen Y set, the talent pool that creatives want to recruit, seem to like urban living. Another unknown that's making people a bit nervous, Chris says, is interest rates. He's unsure if there's going to be an increase, and if so, will that be seen as healthy or will that cause a market hiccup?

Cassidy Turley regional managing principal Jonathan Larsen (with wife Barbara) filled us in on how the firm's pending merger with DTZ, slated to close Dec. 31, will affect LA ops. The merger gives Cassidy Turley--which will be known as DTZ as of Jan. 5--an office in red hot West LA, in addition to its existing offices in Downtown, Pasadena and Woodland Hills. Meanwhile, DTZ's small Downtown office will consolidate into Cassidy Turley's digs there. Jonathan says the combined company will double the firm's local brokerage coverage to about 50 brokers. The year has ended with a bang for Cassidy Turley, which just repped Lewis Brisbois, the biggest law firm based in LA, in a 215k SF lease at US Bank Tower. (As we reported Monday, the firm needed to relocate because of the Da Vinci fire.) The deal was the largest lease in Downtown this year. Jonathan and Barbara have four kids, including son Chandler, who's becoming a top young broker at Cassidy Turley.

At our San Fernando Valley event earlier this year, Younan Properties CEO Zaya Younan predicted there'd be a limited window to buy assets before the national players came back. Confirming this belief, he's already starting to see national firms aggressively acquiring portfolios. He's been a pretty aggressive buyer himself, snapping up 10 office properties in the past six months, including eight in the Thousand Oaks area. (The others are in Chicago and Phoenix.) He's under contract to buy additional assets in LA and Colorado. This is a great environment to deploy capital, Zaya tells us. He sees growth in occupancy and rents, pushed along by the birth of new industries like solar tech, which is expanding and taking prime space. Zaya's looking forward to his first vacation in a long time--he and his family are planning a trip to Europe right after Christmas. Make sure to join us for Bisnow's 5th Annual LA State of the Market on Jan. 14 at the JW Marriott at LA Live, starting at 8am. (Sign up here.)