Layton-Belling & Associates Inc. has entered into a binding agreement to purchase the 32-story SBC tower for about $130 million, according to sources close to the deal.

The building, once called the Transamerica tower, is at 1150 S. Olive St. in the South Park neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles.

Its owner, a partnership of New Pacific Realty Corp. and Canyon-Johnson Urban Fund, came close to selling the skyscraper in November to USAA Real Estate Co., a subsidiary of San Antonio-based insurer USAA, for about $120 million.

Layton-Belling, a Newport Beach-based real estate investment firm, has put down a non-refundable deposit, and the deal is expected to close in March, the sources said.

Cumulatively, the deal brings New Pacific and Canyon-Johnson a hefty $75 million profit on their investment. They spent $100 million for the 565,000-square-foot office building, a smaller adjacent tower and several tracts of undeveloped land in mid-2003.

The partnership has already recouped about $45 million of its investment through the sale of the 225,000-square-foot building at 1149 S. Broadway to the city of Los Angeles and the raw land to housing developers.

In an e-mail, Bobby Turner, managing partner of Beverly Hills-based Canyon Capital Realty Advisors, a partner in the Canyon-Johnson group, declined comment.

David Doupe, the executive vice president at CB Richard Ellis Inc. who had the listing, didn't return calls seeking comment.

Soon after buying the towers, New Pacific and Canyon-Johnson announced plans to convert the centerpiece tower into condominiums. Later, they backed away from those plans and signed SBC Communications Corp. to a 10-year, 225,000-square-foot lease worth about $50 million.

Leyton-Belling was founded by Phil Belling and Steve Layton in 1991. In the last 10 years the company has acquired more than $1.3 billion in predominantly Southern California real estate on behalf of five different investment funds.

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