Downtown L.A.’s skyline will soon have a new name up in lights.

CBRE Group Inc. is moving its downtown offices to 400 S. Hope St., a building an affiliate recently bought, and is adding its name to the top of the tower.

The West L.A. brokerage is close to signing a 10-year lease for 46,000 square feet on the top two floors of the building, which CBRE Global Investors acquired in July for $238 million from Tishman Speyer, a New York real estate company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

CBRE has not had building-top signage downtown since 1999, when it sold its former headquarters at 355 S. Fremont Ave.

For the last decade, the brokerage has been in about 54,000 square feet at KPMG Tower at 355 S. Grand St. Its lease will expire in February with landlord MPG Office Trust Inc., which has been struggling with a mountain of debt and is looking for a capital partner or owner.

Lewis Horne, executive managing director at CBRE Group, said the company has hired architectural firm Gensler to significantly renovate its new space into something more creative.

The new layout will be more open and will do away with perimeter offices, allowing the company to reduce square footage while increasing work space by 20 percent.

“It’s going to be a completely different way of working; we are breaking down the silos,” he said. “We’re really making a commitment to the office of the future and that will make us more efficient and act as an example for other corporate clients to model their own space after. I think it’s going to be exceptional.”

CBRE plans to move its 175 employees into the offices in May. It will join law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP, management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. in the 30-year-old red granite tower.

San Dimas Sale

San Dimas Station shopping center has traded hands for $15.8 million.

A Duarte private investor under the name Meiloon Valley LLC bought the nearly 149,000-square-foot retail property at 515 W. Arrow Highway from Santa Rosa-based STG Realty Ventures LLC, which acquired it in 2002 for $10.5 million, according to CoStar Group Inc.

The sale is among the lowest prices on a square-foot basis – at roughly $106 a square foot – for comparable shopping centers in the last two years, according to CoStar. The 270,000-square-foot shopping center on 16 acres is designed with a Western theme and is home to tenants that include a 99 Cents Only Store, a Baskin Robbins and Furniture Depot.

Richard Longobardo, an associate vice president of investments in Marcus & Millichap’s Ontario office who represented both sides, said that the seller didn’t feel the property fit its office and industrial portfolio any longer, while the buyer was attracted to the location and the ample room for improvements.

The shopping center is only about 70 percent occupied while nearby competing shopping centers are almost fully occupied with large national chain retailers.

“The San Dimas center’s location in a trade area that is highly developed with little land available for new development and high barriers to entry make it especially attractive,” Longobardo said. “He plans to bring the occupancy up.”

Alan Krueger, a senior vice president investments at Marcus & Millichap, also represented both sides.

Hollywood Champion

Developer Bob Champion has added another property to his growing Hollywood portfolio.

His Champion Real Estate Co. bought a 40-unit apartment complex at 1733 Cherokee Ave. from the Goren Family Trust for $4.13 million.

The 1929 building, between Hollywood Boulevard and Yucca Street, is next to a parking lot property Champion acquired last year behind Musso & Frank Grill, where he plans to build a $50 million, 220-unit residential-retail project. But Champion said property was not part of the development project.

“It was just a coincidence that this apartment building was adjacent to property we already own,” he said. “We are actively seeking value-add apartment opportunities in prime markets like Hollywood.”

The company started a division dedicated to purchase apartment buildings across Los Angeles County, though he declined to say how many have already been acquired in the portfolio.

The Cherokee building holds 500-square-foot studios with average monthly rents of about $175. Champion plans to upgrade the units and common space, and add a fitness center to the property.

He also is preparing to build an $80 million, 250-unit residential and retail complex on Highland and Selma avenues.

Tony Azzi of Marcus & Millichap represented both sides of the deal.

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

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