Building on Ocean Front Walk in Venice where Snapchat may expand. Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu/LABJ

Building on Ocean Front Walk in Venice where Snapchat may expand. Photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu/LABJ

Despite this activity to the east, Snapchat still calls Venice home.

It took about 5,000 square feet a year ago on Ocean Front Walk in a building that houses the headquarters of architecture firm Jerde Partnership, according to sources familiar with the property. Sources familiar with the site, which sits on separately deeded land, said Snapchat brought in an investment group, Snapshot Partners, that acquired the leasehold interest in the building for $32 million in March. That limited liability company is controlled by Cambra Realty’s Michael Schlesinger, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.

Schlesinger did not return emails requesting comment. The seller was an ownership group including Janice Jerde, who was married to late architect Jon Jerde. The land was not part of the transaction.

The Jerde firm is looking to relocate, and Snapchat has a right of first refusal for the full 33,000-square-foot space when it becomes available.

Venice lifestyle

Snapchat, originally housed in a tiny blue bungalow on the Venice boardwalk, bought a 6,000-square-foot building on Market last year for $6.8 million, according to CoStar, which houses the company’s headquarters. It leases several thousand square feet across the street. On nearby Ocean Front Walk, it signed a lease in 2014 for the live-work Thornton Lofts, and around the corner it rents a penthouse and roof deck of an apartment building on Brooks Avenue. It is preparing to move into about 4,000 square feet in a retail strip at Venice and Abbot Kinney boulevards, for which it signed the lease last year.

The land grab has prompted some to wonder whether Snapchat would eventually buy property, investing in a hot market and avoiding inevitable lease hikes. But the idea might be risky for a company whose expertise lies elsewhere, tech investors said, especially if Snapchat were to get stuck with an asset that no longer fits its needs.

Read more stories about Snapchat here.

Real estate reporter Daina Beth Solomon can be reached at dsolomon@labusinessjournal.com. Follow @dainabethcita on Twitter for the latest in L.A. real estate news.

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