Santa Monica is losing a creative tech tenant to Culver City.

Mahalo.com, a website that provides online instructional content, is moving to Culver City’s burgeoning Hayden Tract, after signing a three-year lease valued at roughly $1 million to take 13,300 square feet at 3525 Eastham Ave.

Mahalo’s headquarters have been at 902 Colorado Blvd. in Santa Monica for about four years.

“They searched a lot of different submarkets and really were looking for a cheaper alternative for rent, and one that had a decent amount of parking,” said Lee & Associates West L.A. broker James Wilson, who represented landlord PMI Properties. “Eastham filled that requirement very nicely.”

Monthly rents in Santa Monica are among the highest in Los Angeles County, upwards of $4 per square foot, while rates at the Culver City location are just about half that.

Bounded by Hayden Avenue, Rodeo Road, and La Cienega and West Jefferson boulevards, the Hayden Tract has historically been an industrial neighborhood, but building owners have been converting properties into creative office space in the last few years. Production company Big Time Pictures is a tenant.

Mahalo’s building was previously occupied by jeans designer Rock & Republic, which used it for manufacturing and distribution before going bankrupt last year.

Since then, PMI has been repositioning the 33,000-square-foot property to be more attractive to tech tenants by adding 24-foot bow-truss ceilings, roll-up glass doors and skylights. The rest of the building remains vacant, but Wilson said it is being actively marketed to other creative companies.

Mahalo, which has about 70 employees, was set to move in last weekend.

Seth Wellisch and Mathew Miller of Cresa Partners represented Mahalo in its deal. Lee & Associates broker David Wilson also represented PMI.

Cutting Costs

Superior Communications Inc. renewed the lease for its corporate headquarters and distribution facility in Irwindale in a deal valued at $14 million.

The wireless accessory manufacturing company, which makes smart-phone headsets, memory cards and other products, signed a 10-year lease for 225,030 square feet at 5027 Irwindale Ave.

Superior, which moved into the complex in 2000, reduced its rental costs by about 25 percent. The renewal with landlord Clarion Partners keeps the 1.78 million-square-foot industrial business center about 85 percent occupied. Other tenants in the complex include leather goods maker Louis Vitton and Iron Mountain, a data protection service.

“Their lease provides the ability to expand or contract based upon future changes in their business while reducing their overall rental costs and performing significant improvements to the space,” said Joshua Gorin, senior managing director for Studley Inc.’s downtown L.A. office, who represented Superior.

Established in 1991, Superior is the ninth largest telecommunications company in the county and has grown from a regional to a national distributor.

Studley Assistant Director Marcus Arredondo also represented Superior. Clarion was represented by Cushman & Wakefield’s Phil Lombardo.

Growing Ranks

Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. has hired a former Bay Area broker as its first net-leasing expert in Los Angeles as the firm seeks to capitalize on a growing number of companies doing sale-and-lease-back deals.

Rob Bickel, formerly with Sovereign Investment Co. in Palo Alto, joined the Jones Lang LaSalle’s Century City office last month and will oversee sale-and-lease-backs and net-leasing transactions, such as those involving corporate users who lease entire buildings.

As managing director of corporate finance and net leasing, he also will provide advisory services for companies that own their office, retail or industrial buildings.

The brokerage already provides the services nationwide through its Chicago headquarters, but hopes to grow its practice in the West more aggressively with Bickel, whose coverage area will span as far as Texas.

“Given my background and experience, this opportunity appealed to me,” Bickel said.

Bickel will partner with San Diego Managing Director Bob Dmytryk, who until now had handled the transactions on the West Coast by himself. With Bickel’s addition, the brokerage has a team of four brokers in the net-leasing business. It hopes triple the size of the team as more companies sell and lease back buildings purchased during the real estate boom.

Bickel, 41, has held positions at iStar Financial Inc. and RREEF/Deutsche Bank. 

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

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.