Pasadena is heating up.

In the latest deal to hit the market, Zurich Alternative Asset Management last week sold its office building at 350 W. Colorado Blvd. for $34 million to an unnamed investment group. That deal, at $385 a square foot, was well above the average of $293 a foot paid last year in the submarket.

The 88,304-square-foot Class B office building, known as the Wells Fargo Bank Building, is 98 percent leased by Wells Fargo, West L.A. professional services firm Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt and others.

Bob Safai, president of Madison Partners, who represented the seller in the deal along with Matt Case and Brad Schlaak, said the property sold higher than other comparable assets because it has “a great rent roll in a prime location.”

Safai said many interested parties bid on the building.

“Pasadena is attracting investors,” he said. “The tech revolution taking place in the Tri-Cities is for the most part taking place in Pasadena.”

The deal follows the March purchase by Carey Watermark Investors Inc., a New York real estate investment trust, of the Westin Pasadena hotel at 191 N. Los Robles Ave. for $143 million, or about $408,000 a room.

In addition, a medical office building adjacent to Huntington Memorial Hospital sold last week to Congress Management Associates, a Pasadena physician investment group, for nearly $11 million, according to Michael Dettling of Avison Young, who represented the buyer.

The group purchased the 20,000-square-foot Class B property at 39 Congress St. for roughly $550 a square foot from a partnership formed by the family of the late Dr. George L. Mulfinger, who built the building in 1984. The per-square-foot price was $257 a square foot more than the average sale price for all office buildings in the submarket last year, according to CoStar Group Inc.

“The group paid so much because they can expand the building by 8,000 square feet and plan to occupy a portion of the building in the future,” Dettling said.

The building is 100 percent leased.

“Medical buildings on or adjacent to major hospital campuses are selling at very high prices today,” Dettling said.

Sky-High Lease

Miyamoto International Inc., a Sacramento global structural engineering firm, will move into downtown L.A.’s Aon Center skyscraper.

It sounds like the set-up for a joke: The earthquake mitigation company signed an 11-year lease to take roughly 10,000 square feet on the 51st floor of the 1.1 million-square-foot Class A building at 707 Wilshire Blvd. The lease is valued at roughly $4 million, according to Nathan Pellow, a senior vice president at Colliers International’s downtown office who represented Miyamoto along with associate James Robbins.

“They are earthquake engineers and are comfortable moving into the 51st floor of a high-rise, which makes me feel more comfortable about coming to the 35th floor of my building every day,” Pellow said.

At roughly $42 a square foot a year, Miyamoto landed a deal above the average $39.30-a-square-foot asking rate at Class A high-rise properties in downtown but below the rates of many new buildings which can reach the mid-to-upper-$40 range.

A high vacancy rate might have sweetened the deal. Pellow said because Aon is only 71 percent occupied, the landlord, San Francisco investment firm Shorenstein Properties, is aggressively trying to fill the space, which is only 71 percent occupied, Pellow said.

Richard Chen, a principal at Miyamoto, said the location near public transit and downtown’s center was key to the firm’s decision to relocate. It will move from its L.A. home of eight years at 700 S. Flower St. by November. It now has 20 employees in 5,800 square feet of office space.

“We are anticipating that our office will grow to 30 or 35 people in coming years, so we had to find a bigger space,” Chen said.

Miyamoto plans to assemble an open layout in the space to make it collaborative, he said.

Tim Miller and Dana Vargas of Jones Lang LaSalle represented Shorenstein.

The brokers and Shorenstein could not be reached for comment.

Creative Conversion

Santa Monica investment, management and development firm Montana Avenue Capital Partners plans to turn a 50,000-square-foot Class C industrial building it purchased in Redondo Beach into creative office space.

Montana purchased the property at 2400 Marine Ave. for about $10 million, or $200 a square foot, from Klein Family Partnership.

The buyer will invest an additional $2 million to redevelop the property into a high-end creative office campus.

Steve Solomon of JLL represented the buyer and will handle leasing at the building, which currently has 16,530 square feet vacant, according to CoStar. The seller was represented by Luke Staubitz, Harvey Beesen and Andrew Dilfer of JLL.

Staff reporter Hannah Miet can be reached at hmiet@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 228.

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