Gearing up for construction of its downtown L.A. football stadium, AEG is moving and expanding into new corporate offices that will give it a better view of the proposed development.

The company, which also built L.A. Live and the Staples Center, recently signed a lease to take the entire eighth floor and part of the 23rd at 865 S. Figueroa St., a building owned by Toronto-based Manulife Financial Corp. Terms were not released.

The company’s headquarters is in 25,000 square feet in the L.A. Live complex at 800 W. Olympic Blvd., but that space is fully occupied and provides no room for expansion.

As a result, the subsidiary of Denver’s Anschutz Co. has been leasing 27,000 square feet at the Petroleum Building, 714 W. Olympic St., since 2006. But the 86-year-old building, owned by Workmen’s Auto Insurance Co., is two blocks away from the proposed stadium and would not provide a view of the project – a factor in the move, according to a source.

The 865 S. Figueroa building is 686,000 square feet and is newer, built in 1989. It has an average monthly rent rate of $1.68 per square foot, according to CoStar Group Inc. Other tenants include TCW Group Inc. and law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.

AEG is making the move even though it’s not certain that its proposed $1.2 billion stadium will be built, primarily because it has yet to secure a deal with a National Football League team to play there.

AEG did not return calls or e-mails for comment.

Whole Foods Downtown?

High-end organic grocery chain Whole Foods Inc. is looking for tens of thousands of square feet in downtown Los Angeles for both a store and corporate office space.

Earlier this year, the Austin, Texas-based grocer was in negotiations to lease all of the ground floor retail and much of the office space at 845 S. Figueroa St., a building that is undergoing significant renovations by owner L&R Auto Parks Inc. But the deal fell apart last summer when, according to sources, Whole Foods Chief Executive John Mackey cancelled the agreement, saying it was premature to open a downtown store.

The company was looking at taking the entire 31,000-square-foot first floor for a store and upper floors for corporate offices. Whole Foods has a regional office at 15315 Magnolia Blvd. in the Sherman Oaks Atrium, owned by Jamison Services Inc. That office oversees operations in Southern California, Arizona, Southern Nevada and Hawaii.

Now, company officials have been seen looking for new locations, but it’s unclear if Whole Foods would reconsider the 845 S. Figueroa space after walking away from it. The grocer did not return calls for comment.

Whole Foods would face a market that was once wide open but is suddenly becoming more competitive. Target Brands Inc., based in Minneapolis, plans to have a grocery section inside its location at the 7th & Fig complex, which is set to open after renovations next year. Tesco, the British owner of Fresh & Easy, also is said to be looking for space to open up markets. Cincinnati’s Kroger Co. located the first full-size grocery store in the area four years ago when it opened a Ralphs Fresh Fare on West Ninth Street.

Carol Schatz, executive director of downtown business group Central City Association, said it was welcome news that Whole Foods was still interested in the area.

“That’s a very good thing for downtown,” Schatz said. “It’s a prime real estate location.”

Brentwood Buy

A 32-unit Brentwood apartment complex traded hands for $8.85 million last month, going to a family company that plans to convert it into condos.

American Alliance Capital Group, a Santa Monica real estate investor, sold the Montana Avenue Apartments to Kian Investment, a family-run real estate company in Pacific Palisades.

The apartments at 11965-11973 Montana Ave. range from studios to three-bedrooms with rents between $1,000 and $2,750. They are one block from high-end shops and restaurants on San Vicente Avenue and Montana.

The property was developed as apartments in the 1950s and was later entitled for condominiums, which helped the seller fetch one of the area’s more noteworthy prices. The property sold for more than $300 a square foot, making it one of the top sales this year in the area.

“In Brentwood, a lot of those owners have owned their properties for 20-plus years and they keep them in the family. But when they come to market, they are selling,” said Kitty Wallace, executive vice president at Colliers International’s West L.A. office, who represented the seller.

Independent broker Faraj Kerendian represented the buyer.

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

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