Local real estate investor Rao Yalamanchili got a steal last month when he closed on a West Covina office building for $5.8 million after the owner fell into default.

The six-story Class B building at 100 N. Citrus St., anchored by a Chase Bank branch, has struggled to attract and retain tenants, and was only 60 percent leased at the time of sale.

Yalamanchili paid about $73.40 per square foot on the 79,000-square-foot building. The previously lowest recorded sale price of a Class B building in the eastern San Gabriel Valley this year was $120 per square foot for a portfolio sale of three Diamond Bar office properties, according to CoStar Group’s database.

Yalamanchili took over the building after buying the note from Midland Loan Services and then foreclosing on owner 100 North Citrus Associates, which purchased the property for $8.9 million in 2003. The foreclosure was uncontested. Yalamanchili has already begun renovations to the interior and plans to begin leasing out the property soon.

“It comes back to location and that price per square foot was just unbeatable,” said Joseph Chavez, senior vice president of Lee & Associates-Investment Services Group in Ontario, who brokered both sides of the deal. “Being able to buy it (in a good deal), he doesn’t have to get top asking (lease) price.”

Writer’s Block

Syracuse University is establishing a West Coast branch in Sherman Oaks to expand its L.A.-based program for aspiring Hollywood writers.

The upstate New York institution signed a five-year deal last month for 7,500 square feet at 4312 Woodman Ave. in Sherman Oaks. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The university’s Semester in Los Angeles program was co-founded by alum Aaron Sorkin, Oscar-winning writer of “The Social Network” and creator of “The West Wing” TV show.

“Syracuse had a unique and difficult requirement. But we liked the use and the organization and got creative to make a deal that worked,” said Scott Romick of Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura Inc., who represented the landlord.

The program has outgrown its smaller West L.A. office, which was established in 2005 at 11400 Olympic Blvd.

The university chose the new location because of close proximity to the studios, where many of its instructors are located, and Toluca Lake, where its students are housed. The building also offered ample parking and prominent signage along with the opportunity to design the space for the program’s creative use.

The university is renovating the space to divide administration offices from classrooms, and is adding training rooms and conference rooms. Classes will begin there later this year.

Many of the faculty members are, like Sorkin, Syracuse alumni who are now working professionals in L.A.’s entertainment industry.

Darren Casamassima, a principal of Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura, also represented landlord Michael Malamut, a real estate investor who also owns a Vespa dealership.

The university was represented by George Hicker of Cardinal Industrial.

Making Waves

OEwaves Inc., a defense contractor, is moving into expanded headquarters at Pasadena Business Center.

The company signed a five-year lease valued at roughly $3 million for 22,000 square feet at 465 N. Halstead St. in the office complex close to East Foothill Boulevard. The complex also is home to F & A Architects and a 24 Hour Fitness gym.

The company is moving from its office at 2555 Colorado Blvd., but has chosen to stay in Pasadena to be close to Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

OEwaves was founded by scientists from JPL in August 2000, and holds the rights to more than 30 patents in microwave photonic technologies used in radar and other defense applications. OEwaves will convert its new ground-floor space into office space and labs for research and development.

Landlord Broadreach Capital Partners was represented by CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. Senior Vice President Nico M. Vilgiate and Vice Chairman R. Todd Doney.

Lisa St. John at L.A. Realty Partners represented OEwaves.

Vilgiate and representatives of OEwaves could not be reached. St. John declined comment.

Staff Reporter Jacquelyn Ryan can be reached at jryan@labusinessjournal.com (323) 549-5225, ext. 228.

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