A Santa Monica recording studio where music giants Usher and Janet Jackson once laid down tracks has been sold.

The 8,333-square-foot building at 1809 Olympic Blvd. was purchased for nearly $4.96 million late last year by 1809 Olympic LLC, whose principals are said to be music producers. The seller was Beverly Hills music production company Flyte Tyme Inc., operated by Grammy award-winning producers Jimmy “Jam” Harris and Terry Lewis.

Flyte Time bought the property as a small tavern and nightclub in 2003 for $3.75 million, according to CoStar Group Inc. Two years later, the company expanded and redeveloped the property into a state-of-the-art custom recording studio with live-band rooms, recording rooms, editing bays and creative office suites.

It’s not clear why Flyte Time decided to sell the studio. It has an office at 8750 Wilshire Blvd. and is expanding its business model to include new music products including soundtracks.

The studio building traded for about $597 a square foot, among the 10 highest square-foot sale prices in Santa Monica in the last year, according to CoStar.

Oron Maher, a broker with Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. who represented the seller, said the price reflected the high quality of the building and its history.

“The buyer was the right fit for the building and they recognized the allure and the location,” he said. “All the records that have been produced there and the music history there create a good synergy for someone to continue it on.”

The new owner plans to continue to operate the building as a recording studio.

The buyer was represented by Marty Barkin of CBRE Group Inc.

Hilton Acquisitions

Century City real estate investment company Laurus Corp. acquired two Hilton hotels outside of California as 2012 came to a close. It is planning multimillion-dollar renovations at both properties.

Laurus, which specializes in hotels and resorts, bought the 347-room Hilton Kansas City Airport hotel in Missouri and 384-room Hilton San Antonio Airport hotel in Texas for undisclosed prices in separate transactions in December from Atlanta’s Davidson Hotels & Resorts.

The company financed the purchases with an internal acquisition fund and partnered with institutional capital from an investor branch of Brentwood development company Lowe Enterprises Inc.

Philip Cyburt, chief executive of Laurus, said the Hilton brand made the properties attractive, while the upgrades will provide a strong and stable return for investors.

“The recognizable strength of the Hilton brand and its reservation system adds credibility and liquidity avenues for both properties,” Cyburt said in a statement.

The midlevel hotels are in line with Laurus’ acquisition strategy, which targets properties that would benefit from repositioning.

It is planning to renovate the common areas and private rooms of both hotels. Improvements to the guest rooms will include new furniture and plumbing fixtures. Upgrades to the lobby and common areas will include complete redesigns and new décor.

Renovations at the Kansas City hotel will total $8 million; upgrades at the San Antonio hotel will total $9 million.

Targeting Westlake

Target Corp. is preparing to build a 138,500-square-foot store next to a planned Westlake Village mall after acquiring 10.3 acres of land there Dec. 28.

The Minneapolis retail giant bought the land at 30800 Russell Ranch Road for an undisclosed price from Westlake Village developer Selleck Development Group, which purchased the plot as part of a larger 20-acre site two years ago.

Selleck is under construction at the rest of site with a 243,000-square-foot shopping center, Shoppes at Westlake Village. Target’s store will anchor the shopping center.

Developers have proposed several projects for the land over the years, including a home improvement center or office project, but all ultimately fell through.

Target plans to have the store completed by the opening of the mall in March next year, according to Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura President Mike Tingus, who represented the seller.

Nearby Target stores include three in the West Hills-Woodland Hills area, one in Thousand Oaks and one in Simi Valley.

“Target has had an interest in adding a store in the Conejo Valley for some time,” said CBRE Group Inc. Senior Vice President Gregory N. Whitney, who represented the retailer. “When Selleck acquired the Westlake Village site, we thought it was a perfect opportunity for Target to serve the East Valley communities.”

Grant Fulkerson, a principal at Lee, represented the seller.

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

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