Warner Center Properties, the largest office complex in San Fernando Valley, could soon be on the block.
The complex's owner, a joint venture between the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. and Harvard University's endowment fund, is talking to brokers about putting the 2.3 million square foot complex up for sale, sources said.
CB Richard Ellis real estate broker David Solomon, who works under the center's leasing group, said he was aware of discussions about selling the complex. But he has not received a formal announcement from the owner's representative, AEW Capital Management LP, which has an office in Los Angeles.
AEW Capital Management's local representative, Steve Provencio, declined to comment about the possible sale of Warner Center Properties.
Executives at the Alaska Permanent Fund and Harvard University whose joint venture is AH Warner Center Properties also declined comment.
Real Estate sources said the complex could sell for as much as $500 million.
Warner Center Properties comprises six high-rise towers, the Warner Center Business Park, and four parking structures on 50 acres in Woodland Hills. The high-rise buildings are between the 21500 and 21800 blocks of Oxnard Street, and the business park is primarily along Califa Street between Canoga and DeSoto avenues.
The complex was developed between 1977 and 1991 by locally based Voit Cos. and Boston-based Copley Advisors. It was sold in 1995 to the group's financial backer, New England Life, who subsequently sold it later that year to the Alaska-Harvard joint venture.
Marc Spellman, senior vice president of Colliers Seeley International, which leases LNR Warner Center, said the sale would make sense for Warner Center Properties, which will lose a major tenant Health Net Inc. to a neighboring Warner Center property, LNR Warner Center, by the end of this year. LNR Warner Center, which will eventually be eight buildings of 1.2 million square feet in four phases, is being developed by Lennar Partners.
The lease of Woodland Hills-based Health Net was one of the largest office leases in Los Angeles last year.
Losing Health Net will reduce leased space of Warner Center Properties from 93 percent to 80 percent.
"It's a great real estate market right now," Spellman said, speaking of the prospects for large investors. "They also have a large hole right now with Health Net leaving. Health Net took 320,000 square feet and is leaving behind 310,000 square feet that comes up at the end of this year. When they market the buildings with that as a vacancy, it's a value-add deal."
CB Richard Ellis' Don Hudson, broker for Warner Center Properties, said the complex should not have much trouble leasing the former Health Net space, which has already received interest from large users.
But Hudson declined to comment about the prospective sale of Warner Center Properties.
The entire Warner Center area was under scrutiny late last year for parking restrictions and road enhancement costs that some say discourage new businesses from moving to the 1,000-acre area, which was originally designed to be a Century City-like business region of the Valley.
But Spellman said those discouragements are few, given the region's labor pool, proximity to executive housing and orderly design of the office area.
Because of its size, Warner Center Properties will likely attract a limited number of buyers. Among the names mentioned are Santa Monica-based Douglas Emmett & Co. and Equity Office Properties Trust.
The pending sale is the first time the joint venture partners have collaborated on giving up their interest in the complex. Last year, Harvard University tried to sell its 33 percent stake in the complex but was unsuccessful.
"They may have been shopping for a valuation so they could work out some partnership issues," Spellman said. "It never really seemed to get marketed at that point. But I don't think that's what they're doing now. I'd hate to see them go through a broker show and not sell it."
Last summer, Harvard tagged Greenwich Group International LLC as its broker. Executives at Greenwich Group's Los Angeles office declined to comment about the more recent sale possibility. But Greenwich Group marketing director Mitch Breindel in New York confirmed that the firm has been the broker on Warner Center Properties in the past and that there has been some "renewed activity" in the project.
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