The developer of one of the most eye-catching shopping centers in West Los Angeles has bought a 61,500-square-foot parcel at Wilshire Boulevard and Bundy Drive in Brentwood, where he plans to build a 200,000-square-foot shopping center.

West Los Angeles-based developer Bob Champion said the new center will be similar in concept to his One Westside retail center at Olympic and Sawtelle boulevards, which is known for its "neon aquarium" featuring animated neon jumping dolphins and swimming schools of fish on a 60-foot-high glass tower.

Champion paid $5.3 million for the Brentwood property, according to David Lachoff of Grubb & Ellis Co., who brokered the deal between Champion Development Group and the seller, a partnership of 40 individuals represented by the Beverly Hills law firm of Lever, Anker & Israel.

The site is currently occupied by the St. Regis Motel, which will be razed to make way for the shopping center, Lachoff said.

Champion said he will squeeze the 200,000-square-foot center onto the 61,500-square-foot parcel the same way he got 100,000 square feet of retail space and 200,000 square feet of parking on to the Olympic site by building up instead of out. The Olympic center is three stories tall and the Brentwood center will be four, he said.

The Brentwood center's 200,000 square feet will include 130,000 square feet of parking, or 330 spaces, and 70,000 square feet of retail space, Champion said.

"These are urban infill projects that we believe will succeed because they are in areas where there is a very high density of high-income population," he said. He plans to begin construction Nov. 17 and expects the project to be completed in early 1999.

Champion, a former mini-mall developer who started his own company in 1987 and has completed 30 projects to date, said a number of tenants have already signed leases for the center, including Sav-On Drugs and Ross Dress for Less. He said he already has the needed entitlements to build the project.

Sound deal

Soundelux Entertainment Group a Hollywood sound studio whose movie credits include "Air Force One" and "Jerry Maguire" as well as an Academy Award for the soundtrack of "Braveheart" has signed a 10-year lease on 50,000 square feet of space at Hollywood Entertainment Plaza on Hollywood Boulevard near La Brea Avenue, according to Lee & Associates broker Pat Ayau.

The lease represents an expansion of approximately 10,000 square feet, and the building will be renamed Soundelux Entertainment Plaza as part of the deal, according to Jeffrey Edell, Soundelux president.

Edell said Soundelux is getting an ownership stake in the building as part of the deal, and expects to move into the building in the first quarter of next year. About 150 of the company's 300 workers will be relocating to the Hollywood building, according to Edell, who said Soundelux Entertainment Group also maintains facilities in San Francisco and Orlando, Fla.

Edell said Soundelux is one of Hollywood's largest providers of feature film sound services as well as one of the country's largest providers of sound and related services used by theme parks to produce and operate audio-visual shows.

Ayau, who also helped broker a recent 85,000-square-foot lease on Bundy Drive for 20th Century Fox special effects subsidiary VIFX, said the Soundelux deal is another example of how the entertainment industry is creating demand for space throughout L.A.

The Soundelux building was newly renovated by owner Damavandi Capital Group of Los Angeles, and Pacific Bell has installed new fiber-optic cabling in the building, according to Ayau. He said such improvements are important in winning Hollywood tenants, which typically want high-quality buildings with state-of-the-art technology.

Santa Monica acquisition

A San Mateo-based real estate investment fund has purchased an 82,000-square-foot office building at 429 Santa Monica Blvd. in Santa Monica for $16 million, according to partner Bob Safai of Madison Partners, which represented both the buyer and seller in the deal.

The buyer is a partnership called Office Opportunity Fund IV, an affiliate of San Mateo-based William Wilson & Associates, according to Steve Hermann, senior associate for acquisitions at Wilson. Safai said the seller is PM Realty of Irvine.

Wilson is the same entity that earlier this year bought Janss Court at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica through a partnership called Office Opportunity Fund III, according to Hermann, who said the real estate investment company considers Santa Monica and nearby office markets "extremely attractive" and is looking for more properties in the area.

The company also owns an office building at 233 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica that it bought a year ago, Hermann said.

Hermann cited "a shortage of supply relative to demand (for office space), the three-story height limit on new construction and the shortage of sites to build on," as reasons the company is looking for properties in Santa Monica and environs and is willing to pay a premium for them. The price of the 429 Santa Monica Blvd. building was $199 per square foot.

Hermann said the seven-story building is more than 92 percent occupied, primarily by small entertainment industry firms, lawyers' offices and other small businesses and professional offices.

Safai said the building was constructed in 1984 and fully renovated in 1994. Another reason it was an attractive buy, according to Safai: "The rents average about 25 percent below current market rates, which means they're likely to go up when leases roll over."

Expansion move

Global Direct Mail, a marketer of computer and office products, is expanding from 55,000 square feet of space in Carson to a warehouse-distribution building more than twice that size on Artesia Boulevard near the Artesia (91) Freeway, according to Vice President John Schumacher of CB Commercial Real Estate Group.

Global Direct will occupy the entire building of 140,720 square feet, according to Schumacher, who along with CB Senior Vice President Jeff Morgan represented both Global Direct and landlord Sares-Regis Group in the 10-year, $6 million lease. Schumacher said the building is part of a 1.7 million-square-foot portfolio of industrial buildings that Sares-Regis bought last year.

Contributing reporter Bob Howard covers the real estate industry for the Los Angeles Business Journal.

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