Move over, Silicon Beach: El Segundo wants in on the tech boom action.

The Urban Land Institute just completed a study for the city that suggests ways it can develop its own creative office space hub that would compete with Santa Monica and Venice, where Google Inc. occupies more than 100,000 square feet and is looking for more space.

The focus of the plan is the former industrial neighborhood known as Smoky Hollow, bounded by the Chevron oil refinery, Pacific Coast Highway and El Segundo’s downtown corridor.

Urban Land Institute consultants conducted the study to help the city identify amenities and services it needs to provide to attract creative firms and become an incubator area for startups. The study, released last week, found that the neighborhood’s industrial feel, small midcentury buildings and beachside locale will be attractive to such firms. Building prices are also advantageous, coming in at least $325 a square foot cheaper than Santa Monica.

But to be truly competitive, the city needs to increase its fiberoptic connections, add parking and amend its specific plan to encourage adaptive reuse, because creative companies seem to be attracted to a concrete-floor, bare-ceiling aesthetic.

City administrators are preparing recommendations for the City Council, including investment in the concept.

City Manager Greg Carpenter believes more tech firms in the area would lead to more vitality throughout El Segundo.

“Those folks will shop and dine in downtown and give it a shot in the arm,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for the city to create some additional identity for itself and its district. A lot of the value is having more people working in El Segundo and supporting other businesses here.”

Hot Sale

Certainly the multifamily market is hot all over Los Angeles County, but in desirable Santa Monica, the sale prices for apartment buildings seem to be rising more rapidly each month.

An eight-unit apartment property at 522 San Vicente Blvd. sold for $500,000 a unit, for a total of $4 million, in the highest per-unit sales price in the market in the last 12 months.

But that sale only barely beats another one just a month earlier, when a nine-unit property at 2101 California Ave. sold for $427,778 a unit, or $3.85 million, at the time the highest per-unit price in a year.

A private group under a limited liability corporation named San Vicente bought 522 San Vicente from Francis Claire Drooz Family Trust in June.

Kimberly Roberts Stepp, senior managing director with Charles Dunn Co., who represented the seller, said that desirable location and distinctive architecture helped this property earn the hefty price tag. But it also has to do with the larger real estate market.

“There is a lack of inventory and interest rates are at all-time lows,” said Roberts Stepp. “This combination has buyers willing to pay top dollar more than even just six months ago. Activity in the marketplace is heating up.”

Built in 1951, the nearly 10,000-square-foot building is fully leased. All the units have two bedrooms and feature balconies, fireplaces and hardwood floors. Monthly rents range from $2,048 to $2,600. The new owners intend to maintain the property as an apartment complex.

John Taksa from Re/Max represented the buyer.

Century City Renewal

Law firm Stutman Treister & Glatt will remain in its Century City headquarters offices another decade.

Stutman Treister, a boutique firm that focuses on bankruptcy law, signed a 10-year deal to renew its 25,000 square feet on the 12th floor of 1901 Avenue of the Stars with landlord Douglas Emmett. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The firm moved into the building in 2002 and is maintaining the amount of square feet it occupies.

Bob Safai, founding partner at Madison Partners who represented the tenant in the deal, that the company likes the location and the building so it decided to stay put.

“It’s a win-win transaction,” he said. “They love the building and the landlord gave them a good deal and treated them well in the renewal.”

The 492,000-square-foot building is nearly fully leased. It’s next to Westfield Century City Mall and is home to several legal tenants including Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

Madison’s Brad Feld and Steve Salas also represented the tenant. The landlord was represented in-house by Rob Zaas.

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

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