The Pinkberry yogurt craze is now influencing real estate deals.


John Bendheim, managing member of North Canon Drive Plaza LLC, said that one reason his investment group recently purchased a Beverly Hills retail building was its inclusion of a forthcoming Pinkberry yogurt store.


Bendheim's investment group purchased the 8,750-square-foot building at 469 N. Canon Dr. from Las Vegas Land and Development Inc. in a deal that closed Oct. 31.


The 469 N. Canon Dr. building includes a Jimmy Choo shoe store and a Vidal Sassoon hair salon, but the real attraction was Pinkberry.


"We have a Pinkberry going in, opening next week," Bendheim said. "The previous owner did the lease. I was very intrigued. I thought it was a good fit."


The building deal breaks down to about $1,257 per square foot for a market rate transaction, said Douglas Cancienne of DC Commercial Inc., who represented both sides of the deal. "It's an indicator of the health of the Beverly Hills market," he said.


Bendheim said it made sense to purchase the building because his investment group also owns property at 361 N. Canon Dr. in Beverly Hills' Golden Triangle, where the Montage Hotel is being built.


John Kralik of DC Commercial also represented both sides of the deal.


Blackstone Buy

The Nov. 19 announcement that Blackstone Group Inc. was doing the largest real estate deal of all time with its $20 billion purchase of Equity Office Properties Trust sent shockwaves through the Los Angeles real estate community.


Equity Office owns about 7.9 million square feet of office space in 43 buildings across Los Angeles. The city is the fifth largest market for Equity Office in terms of square footage. Much of the company's holdings are on the Westside, including the Yahoo! Center in Santa Monica and the AIG SunAmerica Center in West Los Angeles.


There are many uncertainties surrounding the deal, including what would happen to local employees. But according to sources, one thing is certain: office rents will go up.


"Blackstone will have a major impact on dictating rents on the Westside," said Michael Arnold, managing principal of Newmark Knight Frank, a commercial real estate firm. "With the cost of real estate they are going to have to justify returns. In order to do that, they are going to have to get some pretty big numbers."


Real estate professionals said the size of the deal demonstrates the confidence investors have in commercial real estate.


"This is nothing but good," said John McAniff, a managing director with Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., a real estate services firm. "That the largest commercial landlord can be purchased shows that real estate as an asset class has huge value in the global capital market."


Pasadena Lease

Guidance Software Inc., the maker of digital investigation software and tools, will remain in Pasadena after signing a lease to expand its operations there.


The company has signed a five-year lease deal for two floors of space at 245 S. Los Robles Ave. The lease for 31,028 square feet is valued at about $5 million, or about $2.69 per square foot per month.


Guidance Software already has a presence in the area; it is committed to a lease at 215 N. Marengo Ave. for 30,000 square feet. That deal helped to keep the company in the area, said Nico Vilgiate, a senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., who represented landlord Wells Fargo & Co.


"They were contemplating relocating their headquarters to Glendale but due to their commitment in Pasadena they felt it best to maintain that tenancy and expand down the street," he said. Vilgiate added the deal made sense for Guidance because "space is at a premium" in Pasadena where there is a 3 percent vacancy rate.


Todd Doney of CB Richard Ellis also represented the landlord. Guidance Software was represented by David Kutzer and Brad Schlaak of The Staubach Co.


Sterling Deal

Billionaire Donald Sterling's plan for a homeless center in the heart of Skid Row may be moving closer to fruition.


Sterling had planned to purchase a warehouse property in downtown Los Angeles at 600 Wall St. for about $12 million and then build a center there that would provide services to the area's homeless population. Two weeks ago, Sterling said he could cancel the deal because of a lack of support for the project, but Sterling's real estate agent said it is now more likely that the deal could move forward.


On Nov. 18, Sterling met with the warehouse property owner, Tony Ta, about extending escrow on the property.


"Instead of being a 50-50 chance, it is now 60-40 that it will move forward," said Bradley Luster, Sterling's real estate agent.


Staff reporter Daniel Miller can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 263, or dmiller@labusinessjournal.com .

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