A group of Korean-American investors are close to striking a nearly $19 million deal with Hertz Investment Group to buy the landmark Wiltern Theatre, according to sources close to the proposed sale.


The deal would be for the entire Art Deco, blue and bronze terra cotta building housing the theater at the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue.


Besides the theater, the building includes ground floor retail spaces that are fully leased. The 59,000-square-foot office tower rising above the theater is also completely leased and fetches some of the highest rents in the Mid-Wilshire submarket, sources said. The deal would include partial ownership of a four-level parking garage behind the building.


Gary Horowitz, Hertz Investment's chief operating officer, wouldn't confirm whether a deal was in the works. "We get unsolicited offers on that building almost every week," he said. "We take them all very seriously. We have discussions with potential buyers all the time."


While the building is expected to enter into escrow within a week, sources said the deal could still fall apart. Not much is known about the buyers, who are said to be investing in Mid-Wilshire property for the first time.


The Wiltern was originally a movie theater in what was known as the Pellissier Building, built in 1931. After falling on hard times, it was rescued from demolition in 1982 by the Los Angeles Conservancy.


Developer Wayne Ratkovich bought and restored the property, and since then the theater has become a notable concert venue in Los Angeles. Ratkovich also built the parking structure and a nearby supermarket.


Judah Hertz's company, Hertz Investment, bought the building for an undisclosed sum in 1999 and has owned and operated it since.


Chris Runyen, a Grubb & Ellis Co. vice president working in Mid-Wilshire, said the theater hadn't been listed for sale. But Runyen, who isn't connected to the Wiltern deal, said it's not the type of property that would be marketed widely.


"It's a landmark building so people think about it a lot," he said. "People call and put it in play. That's how these deals get done."


Staying Put


After scouring the Westside office market for nearly a year, United Talent Agency may decide to stay in its current Beverly Hills digs.


The agency is close to hammering out the final details of a lease renewal for another 10 years at its current address in the Wilshire Rodeo building, according to sources close to the deal.


If the lease is completed, UTA would increase its holdings to 90,000 square feet and possibly gain building signage. At current Beverly Hills asking rates of $2.79 a foot, the deal would be worth about $30 million.


The lease would be a boon to New York-based Broadway Real Estate Partners LLC, which paid $151 million for the 237,000-square-foot mixed-use building at 9560 Wilshire Blvd.


With other tenants such as UBS AG and Merrill Lynch & Co., the building's office space is already nearly 90 percent full. Resigning UTA would likely fill out the remaining vacant space.


Calls to Broadway Partners and UTA weren't returned. Mike DeSantis, a senior vice president at Cushman & Wakefield Inc. representing UTA, declined comment.


Some of UTA's notable clients include actors Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Matt LeBlanc and Martin Lawrence.


The deal is significant for landlords in Beverly Hills' tony Golden Triangle, where vacancy levels have fallen and rents have begun to rise. The city's largest talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, is leaving Beverly Hills for Century City.


Still unclear is whether William Morris Agency will remain in Beverly Hills or move to another Westside location. The agency came close last year to uprooting for 10960 Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood, but since then the Beverly Hills city council has been trying to work with William Morris officials to keep the agency within the city limits.
Community Booster


Toy wholesaler OKK Trading Inc. has inked the year's largest industrial deal in East Los Angeles.


The company agreed to take 235,000 square feet at 5500 E. Olympic Blvd., which is owned by the East Los Angeles Community Union. The lease includes a 200,000-foot warehouse and a 35,000-foot office and showroom.


The 3.5-year lease is worth $3.7 million.


The East Los Angeles Community Union, commonly known as Telacu, is a non-profit community development corporation founded in 1968 to attract industry and jobs to East Los Angeles. The group is financially self-sustained by Telacu Industries, a for-profit family of companies with assets in excess of $400 million.


Westgate Industrial Properties' Carol Taubman represented OKK Trading and John Privett and Jeff Stephens of CB Richard Ellis Inc. represented the landlord.


Lofty Plans


A Westside condominium project being built by developer Alan Goodman's Marina Loft Ventures LLC got a boost last week when Corus Bankshares Inc. agreed to provide $39.2 million in construction and mezzanine financing.


The project marks a return to the Los Angeles market for Goodman, who made a name for himself building local shopping centers in the 1980s. Already Goodman has several other projects in L.A. County under development.


The four-story condo project, Glencoe Lofts at 4080 Glencoe Ave., will consist of about 100 units in 142,000 saleable square feet. Construction is expected to begin in a few weeks with completion due by June 2006.


The condos, which will have open floor plans similar to lofts, will be priced between $600,000 and $1 million. They will be located about a half mile east of Marina del Rey in an industrial section that developers, predominantly Ken Kahan's California Landmark Development, are rapidly turning into a residential neighborhood.


For the last decade, Goodman focused on projects outside the L.A. region and in Europe, but he has recently renewed his local efforts.


His WeHo Partners LLC is working on getting approvals for a mixed-use project consisting of 40 condos, with some affordable housing, above a new 10,000-square-foot space for the Palm restaurant in West Hollywood. The development will be built in phases to accommodate the Palm, which will remain open at 9001 Santa Monica Blvd. until the new space is ready.


And Goodman's Wilshire Colonial Partners LLC is in the preliminary stages of planning a mixed-use project in Beverly Hills with retail space and four town home-style units. The development is slated for an area of Wilshire Boulevard near the intersection with Stanley Drive.

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