Downtown L.A. Motors owner Nick Shammas is mulling a proposal that would see a 200-room hotel rise on his site in the 3000 block of South Figueroa Street.

Bradley Luster, managing partner of Major Properties Realtors and Shammas' broker, said he has put before Shammas a proposal from an unnamed developer who owns 20, 200-room franchise hotels around Southern California.

Shammas will decide in the next week or so whether to move forward with the project, which would be built on land he recently bought from Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services.

It may seem a bad time to dive into the downtown hotel market, but Luster said the unnamed developer was taking a long-term view and prepared to ride out the soft market.

He said Shammas paid $4.9 million ($70 per foot) for the assemblage of five lots totaling 70,000 square ground feet at 3100 S. Figueroa St. The property houses an apartment building that is in such bad shape that the city has plans to condemn it. Residents are being placed in starter homes and all will be out within 90 days, Luster said.

Also on the property are a single-family home serving as an office for LA NHS and another building that is the organization's headquarters. Luster said the nonprofit housing service would relocate downtown, most likely in the Figueroa corridor.

L.A. NHS had purchased the property with the intention of turning it into a home base for its operations, Luster said, but development of the site became a logistical hassle and the group abandoned the plans.

The hotel developer has offered to ground lease the property for 30 years from Shammas, Luster said. If Shammas decides to go ahead with the plan, Luster said construction could begin within nine months.

Bunny Hop

Playboy Entertainment Group is looking to move out of its Beverly Hills offices, and is searching around Glendale, Burbank and Los Angeles for space.

While the company is not ready to talk about where it's headed, a spokesman confirmed the search. Scott Barton, director of media and public relations, said the group's lease at 9242 Beverly Blvd. expires in March. Playboy has been in the building for 10 years, he said. About 200 employees work in the Beverly Hills office.

BID Process

Having survived a state court challenge regarding its meeting procedures and riding a wave of support among those orchestrating the Hollywood renaissance, the Hollywood Entertainment District Business Improvement District has been renewed.

Executive Director Kerry Morrison said renewal earned 82 percent approval among the owners of more than 500 parcels of property that voted on whether to continue. Los Angeles City Council approved the BID's renewal through 2003 with a budget of $2.25 million, to be funded by an assessment within the district, which has grown from its original boundaries. The boundaries of the BID are La Brea Avenue to Gower Street along Hollywood Boulevard.

Morrison said the BID would continue its security and maintenance service and will spend $20,000 for consulting services to help the BID obtain grant money.

Property Deals

Prudential Real Estate Investors spent $25 million to buy three new buildings in Cascades Business Park in Sylmar. The buildings 60,096 square feet, 106,594 square feet and 200,632 square feet were built by Royal-Clark Development Co., which owns the business park and an adjacent golf course.

The smallest of the three buildings was pre-leased to Brooks Automation Inc., a supplier of automation systems for the semiconductor, data storage and flat-panel display industries, which is moving from Burbank in November. A handful of brokers from CB Richard Ellis Inc. represented Royal Clark in the transaction Barbara Emmons, senior vice president; Greg Barsamian, senior vice president; Greg Geraci, vice president; and Scott Wilcott, senior associate. Dave Hasbrouck of Cushman & Wakefield represented Prudential

S & R; Wilshire LLC of Manhattan Beach spent $11.7 million to buy a 69,000-square-foot office building at 2601 Wilshire Blvd. from Ratkovitch Co. The building is fully leased by Los Angeles County. Terry Reitz, Jim Biondi and Gerald Kim represented buyer and seller in the transaction

Crest Road Homes LLC, a joint venture of Metropolitan Development and the Lee Group, spent $8.2 million to buy 5.3 acres in the Rolling Hills Estates community of Palos Verdes. The joint venture intends to tear down 53,000 square feet of retail space in four buildings and build 34 single-family homes.

Leases

Funai Corp. signed a five-year, $2.5 million net lease for 75,248 square feet of industrial and office space at 19900 Van Ness Ave. in ProLogis Park in Torrance. Funai is the North American sales and marketing arm of Funai Electric Co. Ltd. of Japan, which manufactures videocassette recorders and DVD players. Todd Taugner of Klabin Co. and Brett Tremaine of Lee & Associates represented ProLogis in the transaction. Toshiro Satto and Hajimu Taguchi from CB Richard Ellis represented Funai

Staff reporter Christopher Keough can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 235 or by e-mail at ckeough@labusinessjournal.com.

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