A plan to restructure the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles by selling off real estate is nearly complete, with the organization selling four buildings in the last 12 months.


Most recently, the Red Cross unloaded a 10,000-square-foot building at 129 Juniper St. in Los Angeles to La Brea Juniper Properties LLC for $2 million on Jan. 22. And the $3 million sale of a 17,566-square-foot building at 5051 E. Third St. in East Los Angeles to National Community Renaissance Inc. is set to close in May.


About two years ago, the Red Cross hired commercial real estate brokerage Cresa Partners LLC to analyze the organization's use of its space. Over the years, the Red Cross had acquired a 165,000-square-foot real estate portfolio largely through donations but only needed about 30,000 square feet, said Dave Leit, vice president at
Cresa.


After the Cresa study, the Red Cross tapped Leit to sell the properties taking advantage of the hot commercial real estate market and instead find rental space for the organization.


"We had excess space and valuable donor dollars going to fund facilities that we didn't need," said Timothy Nguyen, a senior Red Cross director.


Last year, the building sales included properties in Van Nuys and Burbank; the organization sold its former Wilshire Boulevard headquarters in 2005. In total, the organization has made about $30 million on the buildings, money that has been put into a local disaster-preparedness endowment, Nguyen said.


It was costing the Red Cross about $1.5 million a year to operate its buildings, and now it will cost the organization only about a third of that, $500,000, to lease five new facilities. The organization also bought a newer, more efficient headquarters building at 11355 Ohio Ave. in West Los Angeles.


Burbank deal

Connecticut-based Lexham Private Investors LLC has purchased three buildings in the greater Los Angeles area in one year's time highlighting the real estate investment group's new commitment to the area.


In mid-January the firm closed on the purchase of a three-story, mixed-use building located at 224 E. Olive Ave. in Burbank. Lexham purchased the 27,035-square-foot building for about $5.3 million from Blue Real Estate, a Beverly Hills real estate investment firm.


The building is 100 percent leased and includes ground floor tenants such as RadioShack, said Bob Safai of Madison Partners, who represented both sides of the deal. The sale breaks down to about $196 per square foot.

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