Fast Growth: Web-based real estate marketplace TheUSARealty.com has expanded into 32 new regional markets including Atlanta, Houston, and Cincinnati. The company, which debuted in November 2006, now has a presence in 165 markets in 29 states. It has expanded 25 percent in five months. Customers can use the site to link to public listings and local real estate professionals.
Fat Cat Acquisition: Bamboo, the pet care arm of baby product manufacturer Munchkin Inc., acquired Vermont-based Fat Cat Inc. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Fat Cat a cat and dog toy manufacturer was founded in 1991. It will remain a separate company under Munchkin Inc., making it the third Munchkin subsidiary. John Lika, the founder of Fat Cat, will join Munchkin as the creative vice president and the Fat Cat design team will continue to work at the company's location in Vermont.
Moving Time: Markel West Insurance, a subsidiary of the Richmond, Va.-based Markel Corp. is moving and expanding its Los Angeles area office. The company, which underwrites commercial specialty lines including children's camps and bed and breakfasts, small museums and private schools, recently leased the entire 21,000-square-feet fourth floor in Tower I of the Warner Center Towers in Woodland Hills. The 10-year lease is valued at $6.5 million. Markel West Insurance previously occupied 15,000 square feet in the Warner Gateway, also in Woodland Hills.
Contract Extended: Toy company Jakks Pacific Inc. extended its long-term video game licensing contract with Namco Bandai Games America Inc. According to the terms of the agreement, Jakks will continue to develop products based on the Pac-Man franchise and other Namco classic arcade video games. Namco TV Games is a plug-in and play gaming system that includes several classic games in a single controller. Each console costs $19.99.
Domain Names: Santa Monica-based Web media company Demand Media Inc. and wholly owned subsidiary, Washington-based wholesale registrar eNom, made 53,000 premium dot-TV domain names available to customers. The names had been off the market for five months. Demand Media created a partnership with VeriSign Inc. in December of last year to increase TV registrations. The company is bringing the domain names to market at the same time that it is releasing proprietary tools to create video-centric Web sites with social networking.
Center Sold: Creekside Place, a 47,748-square foot shopping center anchored by Barnes & Noble and Applebee's on Valencia Boulevard in Santa Clarita sold for $22.8 million. It was part of a three shopping center sale by New Jersey-based BlackRock Realty that totaled $94 million. Gateway at Burbank, a 74,391-square foot center on West Alameda Avenue in Burbank, was sold for $37.6 million to a Bellevue, Wash.-based private investor. The third property, Plaza de Hacienda in La Puente, was purchased for $33.4 million by a Los Angeles-based private investor. Plaza de Hacienda is a 154,692-square-foot shopping center on North Hacienda Boulevard and is anchored by Food 4 Less, A.J. Wright, and Big 5 Sporting Goods. The buyers and sellers were represented by Dixie Walker, Charles Simpson, and Peter Spragg of Grubb & Ellis Co.
Senior Apartments: Dorado Senior Apartments has opened in Buena Park. The complex offers one- and two-bedroom apartment homes with one bath, ranging from 550 to 700 square feet. The units are reserved for seniors 55 and older with lower incomes. The building was developed by a partnership between Long Beach-based Simpson Housing Solutions LLC, Meta Housing Corp., and the non-profit LINC Housing. Located at 8622 Stanton Ave. in Buena Park, the apartments go for between $507 and $872, well below market rent rates in the area.
Coffee Acquisition: Farmer Bros. Co. acquired Portland-based Coffee Bean International, a privately held specialty coffee roaster. CBI has annual sales of more than $30 million and has grown over the past three years at a compounded annual rate of 21 percent. It sells its products to independent specialty coffee shops and larger chains and private-label retailers. Farmer Bros. Co. paid $22 million in cash under a stock purchase agreement with CBI's parent company, Coffee Bean Holding Co. Inc. Farmer Bros. plans to invest in the CBI business, making improvements to the roasting plant in Portland to increase capacity and production. CBI will remain in Portland as its own company with the same management and operating team. The two companies have been negotiating the acquisition for three years.
Parking Contract: L.A.-based Ampco Systems Parking, a wholly owned subsidiary of San Francisco-based ABM Industries Inc., was awarded a multimillion contract renewal with Orlando International Airport to facilitate all valet and public parking operations for the airport's parking facilities which total more than 21,000 parking stalls.
Marketing Partnership: Interpublic Emerging Media Lab, part of the Interpublic Group of Cos., signed a yearlong partnership with Joost, a broadcast-quality Internet television platform. The Interpublic Emerging Media Lab is a tech-based marketing firm that will help develop innovative marketing for Joost. So far the Lab has engaged 10 Interpublic clients to participate in the pilot programs on Joost including General Motors Europe, Intel, Lions Gate, Microsoft Corp., Motorola Inc., Sony Electronics Inc., Taco Bell Corp., Unilever's Magnum Ice Cream, and the U.S. Army. The Lab is working with clients to create ad-supported models within Joost, including sponsorships and promotion, channel ideas, and branded entertainment.
Apartments Acquired: Jeereddi-Warwick Terrace Apartments sold 14921 S. Stanford Ave. in Compton to Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles for $10 million, or $92,592 per unit. The Warwick Terrace Apartments is a 108-unit complex. Marcus & Millichap represented the seller. Richard Trent represented the buyer.
Office Relocation: Marketing firm Wilkin Guge Marketing moved its office from Claremont to Ontario. The new 6,400-square-foot location at 3237 East Guasti Road in the Centrelake Business Park is double the space the company occupied in its old location. It will house 20 employees with room for continued expansion. Wilkin Guge Marketing specializes in brand-based annual marketing campaigns of $1 million plus.
New Community: Edenglen, the first community within Ontario's New Model Colony, opened to residents. The New Model Colony is intended to eventually encompass 8,200 acres and offer 30,000 homes, offices and industrial/business parks, two major retail centers, recreational and sports facilities, schools, a public library, a village green, and several miles of local and regional trails. It will be one of the largest infill developments west of the Mississippi. Edenglen occupies 61 acres along the South of Riverside Drive. It will have 542 homes built by Southern California-based Bookfield Homes and Standard Pacific Homes grouped into five neighborhoods of condominiums, townhomes, single-family homes, and executive style residences in a variety of architectural styles. Houses are being sold for between the $300,000s and mid $700,000s in five new neighborhoods.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.