Lincoln Property Co. is about to acquire yet another downtown L.A. office building.

The Dallas real estate development and services company has agreed to buy 800 Wilshire Blvd. from Prudential Real Estate Investors for nearly $50 million, sources told the Business Journal.

The sale is in escrow and expected to close in the coming weeks.

The 220,767-square-foot office property in the Financial District was built in 1972 and is 78 percent occupied. Tenants include law firms Phillips Law Partners LLP and Clark & Trevithick, according to CoStar Group Inc.

The sale, at roughly $225 a square foot, represents a middle-range price for downtown Los Angeles.

The property had been under contract to Gold Mountain Investments, a Chinese development company, for about $54 million, but the deal fell apart for undisclosed reasons, according to CommercialRealEstateDirect.com.

Prudential Real Estate Investors, a unit of Newark, N.J.’s Prudential Financial Inc., partnered with L.A. developer Ratkovich Co. to buy the building for roughly $30 million in 2004. The partners renovated and expanded the building. Prudential Financial bought out Ratkovich’s stake in June 2008. That deal was valued at about $300 a square foot.

Lincoln has been expanding its presence in downtown. Last month, it closed on the $16.3 million purchase of the Desmond Building, a 78,500-square-foot office property at 425 W. 11th St., from Evoq Properties Inc.

It also owns the controlling stake at a nearby 466,934-square-foot office building at 1000 Wilshire Blvd., also known as the Wedbush building, which it acquired for $132 million last year from Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. and a partner.

Lincoln and Prudential brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. declined to comment.

Parking Problems

There’s trouble brewing at West Hollywood’s Suncrest Plaza shopping center.

The tenants filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court last week alleging the landlord had established steep parking rates in an attempt to put the affordable food and service companies out of business so that it can redevelop the property.

The suit names Townscape Partners, which operates the limited partnership that owns the 44,630-square-foot retail center at 8128-8178 W. Sunset Blvd., as the defendant.

The plaintiffs include Subway Restaurants Inc. franchisee RAA Foods Inc.; Hai Hong Liu, operator of Oasis Relax Spa; Rosa Pinuelas, licensee of El Pollo Loco; and Shirts N’ Skirts Dry Cleaning Inc.

Parking was free at the shopping center until Townscape, which purchased the property last year, began charging fees last month. Now, parking rates are $3 every 15 minutes with a daily maximum of $25. Townscape does not allow the businesses to validate their customers’ parking, unlike many neighboring retail centers, according to the suit.

Jack Henningsen, the attorney representing the tenants, said their business activity had declined by as much as 50 percent in the last month because customers won’t pay the parking fees.

The plaintiffs allege the landlord raised the parking fees in an effort to force the tenants to surrender their leases. They argue this would allow the landlord to redevelop the property into a higher-income-generating residential or mixed-use development.

Townscape issued a statement calling the claim baseless.

“(C)harging for parking is standard practice in Los Angeles, and most certainly in high-demand areas like the Sunset Strip,” it said. “The plain language of each lease allows the landlord to charge for parking within the shopping center at rates that it determines are appropriate.”

Malibu Sale

UCLA is selling a Malibu home that the university has been scarcely using for $12 million.

Westside Estate Agency is handling the listing for the three-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom seaside home, known as May’s Landing, at 28820 Cliffside Drive. The 2,000-square-foot home sits on 1.3 acres and features a conference room, study, and living room with a fireplace and ocean view.

It has been used for university retreats and study sessions for years, but its distance from the Westwood campus has left it underused. In fact, UCLA has posted a loss of $135,000 at the home over the last four fiscal years, according to a university spokesman.

Instead of continuing to spend the money, school officials decided to sell the property and use the proceeds to help fund its Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

It was formerly occupied by the university’s late renowned schizophrenia expert Philip May and his wife, notable psychiatrist Genevieve. The home was endowed to UCLA in 1986 after Philip May’s death. His spouse lived in the home until her death in 2004.

Bids to buy the home are due May 21.

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

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