The creative office conversion craze that has swept through Santa Monica, Playa Vista and El Segundo is reaching deeper into the South Bay, if a recent sale in Torrance is any indication.
Century City’s Ruth Group purchased two Class B office buildings totaling 107,000 square feet at 680 and 690 Knox St. for $17.2 million. It paid roughly $160 a square foot to the seller, Toronto investor Brookfield Asset Management Inc., which declined to comment on the sale.
Bob Ruth, president of Ruth Group, said the firm plans to convert the properties into a creative office campus. The plaza between them will be converted into an outdoor workspace with all the hallmarks of tech life these days, including roll-up doors, a dog park and, of course, pingpong tables.
The buildings are 89 percent occupied and the balance will be converted to creative offices with concrete floors and exposed wood-truss ceilings.
Major tenants in the buildings include logistics firm C.H. Robinson and IT firm Allied Digital Services.
Ruth Group chose Torrance to provide a lower-rent alternative to El Segundo, the first of the South Bay cities to receive significant Silicon Beach spillover. In El Segundo, rents at prime creative office properties are roughly $3.50 a square foot a month. Offices in Torrance rent for an average of roughly $2 a square foot a month, according to data from CoStar Group Inc.
The buyer and seller were represented in the transaction by HFF’s Ryan Gallagher, Michael McCann, Derreck Barker and Andrew Harper.
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