Los Angeles real estate investor Highridge Partners has bought a Santa Ana office building as it launched a program to purchase $500 million worth of commercial properties in California.

Highridge paid New York developer and landlord Tishman Speyer Properties $31 million for 3 MacArthur Place, an 11-story building completed in 1991 in the master-planned MacArthur Place development. Tishman Speyer paid $83 million for the building near the top of the real estate peak in 2007.

The office market, which has been in decline for nearly two years as rents and property values have fallen, is getting worse, said Jack Mahoney, executive vice president of Highridge. Yet the time has arrived when investors can acquire buildings with money-making potential, he said.

Mahoney calculates that the building will be worth more than what his company paid when the market recovers. His firm will now focus on finding more tenants, he said. The building is 78 percent leased to businesses such as Omnipoint Communications Inc., Tenet Health Systems and apartment investor Archstone-Smith.

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