Property negotiators for the Port of Long Beach are looking at eight office buildings that could become the port’s new headquarters later this year.

Port officials last month asked local property owners to submit information on buildings that the port could either purchase or lease until finding a permanent location. The port is looking for about 170,000 square feet of office space for its 400 administrative workers, but the buildings on offer represent a wide range of sizes.

Legacy Partners of San Mateo submitted information about One World Trade Center, a nearly 600,000-square-foot downtown office building the port almost purchased last year. 400 Oceangate Ltd., controlled by the firm of prominent Long Beach attorney Skip Keesal, submitted information about the 160,000-square-foot Union Bank building and 104,000-square-foot City National Bank building, both in downtown. Keesal last year lobbied port officials to rent space in one of his buildings while he built a port headquarters as part of a downtown development.

Other buildings under review include three former Boeing Co. buildings on Airport Plaza Drive, one with 176,000 square feet and two adjacent buildings with a combined 150,000 square feet; a 108,000-square-foot former Verizon building on Ocean Boulevard; a 490,000-square-foot former Hughes Aircraft Co. building on Hughes Way near the Long Beach Airport; and the 140,000-square-foot former state office building on Broadway in downtown.

The port could purchase or lease a building and then sublease any excess space, or lease only part of a building. Bill Townsend, president of real estate brokerage Inco Commercial in Long Beach, said a port lease at any of the properties would be among the largest deals in the city this year or last.

A 170,000-square-foot lease in downtown would drop the area’s office vacancy rate by one-third, from 15 percent to 10 percent, according to figures from Jones Lang LaSalle.

Port officials have been looking to move out of their current headquarters, which is too small and not up to current earthquake codes, for several years. Harbor commissioners are expected to make a move on buying or leasing property by the end of the summer.

Off the List

After years of losses and meager sales, Torrance company Enova Systems Inc. could be delisted from the Amex stock exchange because it has too little equity and has been unprofitable for too long.

The company last month received a notice from NYSE Amex LLC and has until this week to submit a plan detailing how it will come back into compliance in the next 18 months. In a statement, Enova officials said they are working on that plan.

If the strategy fails, the company could be delisted in October 2013. Enova officials did not return calls for comment.

The company, which develops drive trains and components for electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, was an early entrant in the electric-vehicle field and used to develop drive systems for automakers. More recently, it has switched and is installing electric motors into fleets of commercial trucks, buses and vans. Orders for those products have never met Enova’s expectations.

The company lost $7 million last year and $7.4 million the previous year, and its shareholder equity fell by 50 percent to $5.3 million. Amex rules call for delisting a company if it has shareholder equity of less than $6 million and net losses for five consecutive fiscal years. Enova has never been profitable.

Investors have fled, with company shares closing May 9 at 18 cents, down 25 percent since the delisting notice and 83 percent from a year ago.

Jesse Herrick, who follows Enova stock as a managing director for Merriman Capital Inc. in San Francisco, said a delisting wouldn’t have a big impact.

Staff reporter James Rufus Koren can be reached at jrkoren@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 225.

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