A wide variety of Los Angeles County properties have changed hands over the past 12 months, and no two properties among the five highest-priced sales are alike.
They encompass a range of property types a million-square-foot Santa Monica office campus, a design mart, a regional shopping mall, a class-A high-rise in Century City and an industrial park. The buyers are a diverse lot as well a real estate investment trust, large Canadian public company and private, deep-pocketed investment firms.
Here's a rundown of the top five deals, valued from $360 million to $90.6 million.
MGM Plaza, Santa Monica
Buyer: Tishman Speyer Properties
Price: $353 million
About five different investors were seriously interested in MGM Plaza when MaguirePartners placed it on the block earlier this year. West Los Angeles-based Douglas Emmett and New York real estate giant Tishman Speyer Properties duked it out for title to the million-square-foot campus.
In the end, Tishman Speyer won.
"They had the financial muscle and proved it early on," said David McKenney, formerly with Cushman & Wakefield, who helped negotiate the sale. "We had some very good buyers because it's a superlative asset. It was a high price, but the returns to them will be satisfactory."
In large part, it came down to Tishman Speyer's willingness to proceed with the acquisition without a lease renewal by the project's anchor tenant, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. MGM, whose lease is up next year, takes up close to 400,000 square feet in the complex, while Symantec leases more than 100,000 square feet. MGM Plaza is currently 99 percent occupied.
The well-landscaped, six-building campus is heavy with amenities, including restaurants, basketball and volleyball courts and a health club. Rents are around $4 per square foot per month, among the top rates in the L.A. area.
Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood
Buyer: Cohen Brothers Realty
Seller: Teachers Insurance & Annuity
Price: $165 million
New York-based Cohen Brothers and the Cheslock Bakker Opportunity Fund acquired the behemoth "Blue Whale" complex in West Hollywood last fall for about $165 million. But the investment won't stop there.
The new owners said at the time of the purchase they plan to spend another $40 million to convert most of the green building to office space, while leaving showroom space concentrated in the blue building.
Cohen and Cheslock Bakker also said they plan further development at the site. The city approved, in concept, plans for a third, red-glass building encompassing 450,000 square feet, which would be developed as class-A office space. And the owners are eyeing two other locations near the center for retail, office and housing development.
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