Chicago real estate giant Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. acquired Brentwood retail brokerage and capital markets firm Wilson Retail Group for an undisclosed sum in a deal that closed May 7.

Co-founded in 1990 by Principal Chris Wilson and President Scott Burns, Wilson has specialized in representing owners of grocery-anchored neighborhood shopping centers. The firm is the leasing agent for 9 million square feet of retail space in 75 shopping centers and its investment sales team is marketing $125 million worth of property.

Chris Wilson said he had received interest from other companies over the years but JLL seemed like the right cultural fit.

“JLL has some really good people that poked us,” he said. “One in particular in Atlanta contacted us two years ago and we had a meeting to discuss servicing needs they couldn’t do internally. It moved into more of a recruiting conversation.”

Peter Belisle, market director for JLL’s southwest region, said that while there are no other acquisitions the company is ready to disclose, it is always looking.

Wilson, Burns and their 13 employees will remain at the office at 11620 Wilshire Blvd. as part of JLL’s retail team. The merger will not result in any layoffs.

With the deal, Wilson becomes executive vice president and southwest brokerage lead of JLL retail. Burns is executive vice president and retail brokerage lead for JLL’s L.A. office.

Wilson said that he expects the retail team to expand.

“Retail is definitely a priority for us in this region and (talent) is a critical element as we look to grow our retail division,” Belisle said.

Shopping Center Sale

A Burbank shopping center near the 5 freeway and Alameda Avenue has sold for $48.6 million, or about $650 a square foot. The sale far exceeded the $272-a-square-foot average sale price for the submarket, according to CoStar Group Inc.

The 74,391-square-foot Gateway at Burbank was purchased by a fund advised by downtown L.A. commercial real estate giant CBRE Group Inc.’s CBRE Global Investors. The seller was a partnership of Santa Barbara real estate firm Invest West and Montecito equity provider Santa Barbara Capital. The deal closed May 6.

The 6-acre property, at 25-113 E. Alameda, comprises two buildings with multiple retail tenants, including Ralphs Grocery Co., which has its own 51,582-square-foot parcel; CVS Corp.; Baskin-Robbins; Starbucks; and Habit Burger Grill.

The property was fully leased at the time of the sale.

El Warner and Tom Lagos of Colliers International represented both sides of the transaction.

The partnership purchased the property in September 2008, right before the financial crisis, for $40.5 million. It was seeking a 1031 exchange, which allows a seller to defer capital gains taxes if sale proceeds are rolled into another property of equal or lesser value, and was happy to find a buyer that would allow it 90 days to identify another property, Warner said.

CBRE’s Kim Hourihan, portfolio manager for the fund that purchased the property, said her group looks for grocery-anchored shopping centers in the greater L.A. area and liked the Gateway Burbank’s proximity to the freeway. The fund plans to hold on to the shopping center for a long time, and the tenants, which have long-term leases, will remain the same.

Warner said the sale was the largest for a grocery-anchored shopping center in Los Angeles in the past eight years.

“Sellers are looking at the market and realizing there is such a lack of supply of this product type and that now is the time to sell,” he said. “The market is at a pricing level that’s hotter than the last boom in 2006 and 2007. It hasn’t been this attractive in history.”

Place to Park

Boeckmann Family Trust, a trust connected to the family that owns the 10 Galpin auto dealerships in the region, has purchased a 74,072-square-foot, two-story Class B warehouse on a 5-acre lot in San Fernando. The reason: Its Galpin Honda needed extra space to park cars.

The trust purchased the property, at 13880 Del Sur St., for $7.1 million, or roughly $32 a square foot for the land, from a group of investors led by Walter Mosher, who built the building for his business, Precision Dynamics Corp.

Mosher sold the company several years ago and no longer needed the property, said Greg Geraci, a senior vice president at CBRE who represented Mosher in the sale along with David Harding, Billy Walk and Matt Dierckman.

Alan Scobin, a lawyer who counseled the Boeckmanns in the sale, said Galpin Honda would lease the site from the trust.

Scobin said Galpin will complete tenant improvements to the building, but didn’t say whether the company will use it or enter into a sublease.

Gian Starita, a vice president at Colliers International, represented the trust with Brenton C. Weirick in the transaction.

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

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