Industrial real estate brokers around the county have been hopping of late, closing a handful of significant leases and purchases in recent weeks.

One such lease deal has just come down in City of Industry, where an unnamed toy manufacturer has agreed to lease more than 300,000 square feet of space at the Grand Avenue Distribution Center.

The deal for a warehouse and distribution facility is shrouded in secrecy and representatives of CB Richard Ellis Inc., which represents the property owner, declined to comment other than to say leases were pending for both buildings in the two-building development.

Local real estate sources said, however, that the tenant, a publicly traded toy company, is already in City of Industry and that the 318,497 square feet is more than twice the size of the company's current facility. They estimated the value of the lease at more than $7 million.

Mattel Inc. has a presence in the market.

Grand Avenue Distribution Center is a 600,000-square-foot spec development of joint-venture partners Prudential Real Estate Investors and Wohl Property Group.

The toy company has actually executed a lease for one building and leases for the second building, which has 274,474 square feet of space, are pending, sources said.

Further south in the Mid-Cities area, San Francisco-based AMB Property Corp. recently bought Slauson Distribution Center in Santa Fe Springs for $31 million, according to a source familiar with the deal.

The seller, Principal Capital Management of Des Moines, Iowa, had owned the fully leased, 640,819-square-foot facility at 12500 E. Slauson Ave. for 15 years. Among the tenants are a Korean food distributor, a trucking company and plastic packaging manufacturer.

Although neither party would reveal details of the deal, brokers familiar with the Mid-Cities market and with the deal said the property is worth upwards of $48 per square foot.

Before the purchase, AMB Property owned 88 industrial buildings in Southern California covering 7.4 million square feet, according to the company's Web site.

In another set of deals, JMWM Limited Partnership of Beverly Hills sold two Santa Fe Springs industrial properties for a total of $2.7 million to tenants in those properties.

Spectrum Lighting Inc., which had been leasing 13415 Marquardt Ave. bought the 31,008-square-foot building. Spectrum, which has its corporate headquarters and warehousing and distribution operations at the building, paid $2.2 million.

The other sale, to Dorco Electronics Inc., was for the 5,860-square-foot building at 13540 Larwin Circle. The company paid $500,000 for the home of its electronics manufacturing and distribution operations.

Specturm was represented by Daum Commercial Real Estate Services, while Capital Industrial Properties handled the transaction for Dorco. Grubb & Ellis Co. represented the seller.

Rounding out the industrial property news, Aquarium Industrial Inc. signed a three-year lease for 13,600 square feet at the new Gale Avenue Center in the City of Industry.

Daum's Larry Kliger said the company, which manufactures glass aquariums and equipment, moved from Johnson Drive to 16269 Gale Ave. because it needed less space than the 24,000 square feet it had been leasing.

Aquarium Industrial will spend $360,000 over the three years of the lease, Kliger said.

Dot-com Subleasing

Sublease space has been coming onto the market, as dot-com companies abandon office space or simply fail to grow into what they once hoped would be spacious homes. And much of that space is getting snatched up.

A recent example involves Metapa, now an L.A.-based company that provides infrastructure for delivery of digital media. Metapa has subleased 36,725 square feet from Bizrate.com at the company's five-building Marina del Ray campus. Metapa employees had been splitting their time between New York and two Southern California office locations.

Metapa spokeswoman Michelle Balconi said 50 employees from the company's Hollywood and Beverly Hills offices will consolidate operations at the new site. It will be the first official headquarters for the company, which was formed in April 2000.

Gray DeFevere at Grubb & Ellis said he found the tenant for Bizrate.com, which he had put in the buildings last year. DeFevere said the company, which provides a portal for e-commerce, isn't failing, but simply never grew into the 90,000-plus square feet it leased.

"BizRate is strong; they're not going anywhere," DeFevere said. "They're sitting on a boatload of money, but they're not growing."

Metapa's lease, which will cost the company $5.9 million over five years, leaves Bizrate.com with 20,000 square feet of unoccupied leaseable space. DeFevere that space could be subleased for two years, after which time Bizrate.com plans to use it.

Office Deals

Paine/PR signed a seven-year, $2.7 million lease for the entire seventh floor at Figueroa Tower at 660 S. Figueroa St. in downtown Los Angeles.

According to Joseph Mani of Mani Brothers Real Estate Investment, the lease secures for Paine/PR the entire 14,500-square-foot floor, leaving another 70,000 square feet available in the building. The floor is 1,000 square feet smaller than other floors in the building because it features a cutout in the middle that overlooks a sky lobby.

Mani said Paine will pay $375,000 for the first five years of the lease and $435,000 for the final two years.

Paine, which has offices in New York, Costa Mesa and Beverly Hills, has moved its Beverly Hills office into the Figueroa Tower, according to Ben Newell, client services manager at Paine. Newell said Paine's 12 employees use half of the floor and the company is building out the other half in preparation for growth.

The deal leaves Mani Brothers looking to fill another four-plus floors, Mani said. Three of the floors could be leased together as the former tenant, New York law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, spent more than $150 per square foot to improve and link the three floors with stairways. Mani said those three floors would lease for about $28 per square foot annually.

Over in the San Fernando Valley, Aetna Life Insurance Co. and Regus Business Center Corp. signed leases for a total of 110,000 square feet at 21st Century Plaza in Warner Center in Woodland Hills.

Staff reporter Christopher Keough can be reached via e-mail at ckeough@labusinessjournal.com.

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