Duesenberg Investment Co., an investment vehicle of billionaire real estate mogul John Anderson, has completed an $85 million refinancing of its 1900 Avenue of the Stars office building.

The Century City deal with two life insurance companies was completed Dec. 16. Large refinancing transactions have been scarce in recent months as a result of the credit crunch and recession.

Duesenberg's prior loan with SunAmerica Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary of beleaguered insurance behemoth American International Group Inc., was set to mature in April, leaving Duesenberg with an $83 million loan balance. The new 10-year loan pays off the remaining debt on the first loan, a typical financing structure for a large office building.

Lenders Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co. of Greenwood Village, Col., and London Life Insurance Co. of London, Ontario, each loaned Duesenberg $42.5 million.

The office building is valued at about $300 million, according to sources with knowledge of the Century City real estate market. Because of that valuation, the refinancing had a very low loan-to-value ratio, which made it easier to seal the deal.

"(Because) the building is worth substantially more than the $85 million, it wasn't that difficult to get this loan underwritten," said Dana S. Treister, an attorney with Munger Tolles & Olson LLP who represented Duesenberg in negotiating the loan.

Duesenberg bought the 600,000-square-foot tower for $185 million in 2002.

The 28-story, Class A tower is known for its high-powered law firm tenants including Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella LLP; Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP; and Folger Levin & Kahn LLP.

Treister said that AIG's financial struggles did not play any role in the refinancing.

George Mitsanas of Newmark Realty Capital Inc. was the mortgage broker on the deal.

Downtown Lease

Lee Andrews Group Inc., an L.A. consulting company that specializes in technology, environmental compliance and public affairs, has signed a lease for a new downtown headquarters.

The company will leave U.S. Bank Tower and move to 818 W. Seventh St. on March 1, after signing a five-year deal for the offices. The December lease with local landlord Downtown Properties Holdings LLC is valued at $449,523.

The lease at the historic 1925 building starts at $31 per square foot per year on a full-service gross basis.

"We believe it was a below-market deal," said Eric Moore, a Transwestern senior vice president who represented Lee Andrews in the 3,268-square-foot transaction. As part of the deal, the landlord will build out the consulting firm's new offices at the Class B property.

Moore said that Lee Andrews looked for 18 months before settling on a property that met its needs.

"They were having a very challenging time finding a building that fit their specific requirements prestige, location, access to public transportation and proximity to clients," said Moore. "The principal was just going crazy over it."

The 372,194-square-foot building was 87 percent occupied at the time of the deal. Downtown Properties' other buildings in the area include One Bunker Hill and the iconic Bradbury Building.

The landlord was represented by Chris Caras, a senior vice president at Grubb & Ellis Co.

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

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