Billionaire developer Alan Casden has put three high-profile Beverly Hills office buildings on the market, including his company's headquarters.


A subsidiary of Casden Properties Inc., in partnership with New York-based Blackacre Capital Management LLC, is looking to collect around $55 million for the three Wilshire Boulevard properties.


The Class A buildings at 8942, 9090 and 9150 Wilshire Blvd. cumulatively have 209,000 square feet of space and are fully leased. The buildings are being sold as a package.


Casden is on the top floor of 9090 Wilshire Blvd., but he may move the firm in a year or two. The lower floors of 9090 Wilshire Blvd. have been converted for medical office tenants.


Meanwhile, talent agency International Creative Management Inc. occupies 8942 Wilshire Blvd. And Paramount Pictures Corp. chief executive Brad Grey's production company, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, occupies much of 9150 Wilshire Blvd.


The properties were on the market early last year but taken off when bids came in low. However, the process this time around has been fast-paced, according to Stephen Somer, a senior vice president with Secured Capital Corp., which has the listing. A final buyer could be selected within the next several weeks, he said.


The Casden-Blackacre partnership, which developed 9090 and 9150 Wilshire, came to a joint decision to sell the buildings. One draw back to the properties: both 8942 and 9150 Wilshire Blvd. are on long-term ground leases.


Still, demand for Beverly Hills office buildings is high. The posh city remains one of the strongest rental markets in Los Angeles County. At the end of December, the city's average vacancy rate hovered around 8 percent, below the county average of 11.5 percent. The average asking rents were nearly $3 a foot a month, higher than the county average of $2.55, according to Grubb & Ellis Co. data.


Working the Playa
Playa Capital Co. LLC's court victory last week did more than pave the way for the final portion of the massive Westside residential and retail project.


In light of the ruling, the developer also chose to put on the market the project's remaining office component, located near the Hughes' Spruce Goose building at the corner of Bluff Creek and Campus Center drives.


The group is selling a 6-acre tract with entitlements from the City of Los Angeles for two office buildings with about 400,000 square feet cumulatively.


"This is normal practice for us to entitle the land and then sell those parcels to individual developers," said Doug Moreland, a Playa Capital senior vice president of development.


Moreland wouldn't comment on the asking price, but according to sources familiar with the listing, the land could fetch about $50 million. The property's high price tag reflects the difficulty of getting city approvals for Westside office buildings and the lack of nearby competition.


Last week a Superior Court judge dismissed objections to Playa Vista's environmental reports filed by the City of Santa Monica and groups led by the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust, which argued the project's reports were flawed and incomplete.


The plaintiffs have said they will appeal the ruling, which has cleared the way for construction to begin on Playa Vista's last phase.


Even though the marketing books for the property weren't set to go out until this week, several large office developers had already been approached about buying the property.


"There are some very large users out in the market right now looking for space," Moreland said. "It's a very desirable location."


Interest in the site is already high. Developer Rob Maguire developed the office buildings that were part of Playa Vista's first phase. Those buildings are occupied mostly by video game producer Electronic Arts Inc.


Last year Maguire bought out Chicago-based Equity Office Properties Trust's 87.5 percent interest in the project, dubbed Water's Edge, for $85.5 million. Water's Edge has entitlements for a 192,000-square-foot building.


The Cushman & Wakefield Inc. team led by senior director Carl Muhlstein has the listing.


Law Firm Lease
Real estate law firm Pircher Nichols & Meeks has renewed and expanded the lease for its Century City office in a deal valued at $10 million.


The law firm signed a 10-year lease for 39,000 square feet a 9,000-square-foot expansion at 1925 Century Park East, which is owned by Watt Management Co.


Pircher Nichols & Meeks' rapid growth caused the law firm to renegotiate the lease before it was up for renewal, according to Hunt Barnett, a principal at Madison Partners, which represented the tenant.


"They needed more space and they were paying rent that was over market rate," Barnett said. "We did a blend and extend that I believe was both beneficial to the tenant and the landlord."


Watt Management is owned by Southern California homebuilder Ray Watt, who also has a controlling stake in John Laing Homes.


The twin towers at 1925 Century Park East is known as Watt Plaza, and under its new lease, Barnett said, Pircher Nichols & Meeks becomes the complex's largest tenant.


Watt Management was represented in the negotiations internally by Kathy McKay.


*Staff reporter Andy Fixmer can be reached by phone at (323) 549-5225, ext. 263, or by e-mail at afixmer@labusinessjournal.com .

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