Revitalization efforts in downtown Long Beach have gotten a big boost with the sale of two low-rise office towers along Ocean Boulevard.

Meiao Investment, a group of Chinese investors, paid more than $10 million for a nine-story building at 200 W. Ocean Blvd. that has sat vacant ever since Verizon Communications moved out several years ago, said Dave Smith, a senior vice president at CBRE Group Inc.’s El Segundo office who represented the seller, Milan Capital Management in Anaheim.

Verizon had occupied the entire 102,256 square-foot building, Smith said, and Milan had tried unsuccessfully to sell the building after the telecommunications company moved out. Then, after Milan couldn’t find a buyer, the real estate investment company decided to look for new tenants to lease creative office space.

“We were going full speed ahead on a leasing program and had letters of intent signed for five of the nine floors,” he said. “Then this buyer came up out of the blue.”

Meiao, represented by Long Beach broker Dave Coe, approached Milan in March with an attractive offer and certainty of closing, Smith said, so Milan seized the opportunity. The deal closed late last month.

Meiao plans to begin converting the building into apartments in August and construction is expected to be completed by June 2017.

Meanwhile, Pasadena’s Ruth Group just bought a nearby tower at 211 E. Ocean from Koreatown real estate firm Jamison Services Inc. earlier last month. The price of that deal was not disclosed.

Ruth Group also plans to convert the 100,100-square-foot building into creative office space, said Smith, who represented Jamison.

“This totally validates the fact that there is a strong market for creative space in downtown Long Beach, where very little of that exists right now,” he said. “Both the creative office element and residential element tie in together because what you see in downtown Long Beach is a true live-work-play environment.”

First Career Didn’t Ad Up

By the time Mark Tarczynski landed his first gig at an ad agency on New York’s Madison Avenue in the early 1980s, the advertising industry was nothing like AMC’s 1960s-set TV show “Mad Men.”

And Tarczynski was not leading the life of Don Draper.

“They were doing a lot of drinking and smoking (on ‘Mad Men’) and there was a lot of partying and cursing,” he said. “But, during the day, rare was it that you drank at my job. It was so intense you had to have your wits about you.”

After about a decade of bouncing from one agency to another, Tarczynski finally had enough of the advertising business.

“I was just kind of bored,” he said. “I wanted to do something different so I decided to come out to L.A. and try out commercial real estate sales.”

Tarczynski, 60, didn’t quite know exactly where to start after he arrived in Los Angeles in 1988. His best bet, he thought, would be to get hired by Coldwell Banker Real Estate because, at the time, it was the largest firm.

As luck would have it, Tarczynski scored an interview with the head of Coldwell Banker’s downtown L.A. outpost.

“I said, listen, I’ve been selling some whacked-out creative ideas to the captains of industry for the past 10 years,” Tarczynski said. “If I can do that for captains of industry, I’m sure I can sell a building.”

Sure enough, Coldwell Banker hired Tarczynski and he went on to become one of the top sellers of downtown high-rise redevelopment properties.

Today, Tarczynski is an executive vice president at Colliers International but he hasn’t strayed from downtown.

That’s because – despite a massive amount of development underway – the market still has a long way to go, Tarczynski said.

“We’re not finished by any means,” he said. “We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.”

That has proved good news for Tarczynski, who’s no longer bored at work – and still doesn’t spend lunchtime at the bar with a whiskey in hand.

News & Notes

New York real estate brokerage Compass, which opened an office in Beverly Hills last month, has hired Kathy Mehringer as its regional director of risk management and education. Mehringer joined Compass from Coldwell Banker, where she served as the firm’s director of risk management for Southern California. …L.A.’s CBRE has promoted Richard Rizika to vice chairman of retail services. Rizika, a broker in CBRE’s El Segundo office, is now one of the firm’s four vice chairmen in retail services and he’s the only retail broker the firm has ever promoted to this role outside New York.

Staff reporter Cale Ottens can be reached at or (323) 549-5225, ext. 221.

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