It’s a sign that Pacific Rim investors are interested in locations outside of downtown Los Angeles, sometimes at an extreme premium.

Singapore’s Mapletree Group purchased an 89,600-square-foot, 60-unit Class A multifamily apartment building at 5659 W. Eighth St. on the Miracle Mile late last month for a whopping $41 million, or roughly $683,000 a unit, according to real estate sources. The property will be managed by West L.A. corporate housing developer Oakwood Worldwide. The seller was New York insurance firm Metlife Inc.

The property last traded hands in March of last year for less than $32 million, or roughly $533,000 a unit, according to company filings from UDR Inc., which had been a joint venture partner with Metlife in the property.

Mapletree, a real estate firm that manages four Singapore-listed real estate investment trusts and six private equity real estate funds, acquired a 49 percent stake in Oakwood Asia Pacific last year and inked a joint-venture agreement with Oakwood Worldwide to acquire and develop a portfolio of Oakwood-branded properties in Asia and the United States. This is the joint venture’s sixth property acquisition, but its first in Los Angeles.

Kristin Zimmerman, Oakwood’s vice president of real estate investments, said the partners planned to turn the luxury apartment complex into furnished corporate housing.

“Los Angeles is one of the largest markets for corporate housing, and the Miracle Mile building is a great location because people like to be between downtown L.A. and (the Westside),” she said.

The building is fully occupied, according to CoStar Group Inc., by residents with yearlong leases that end at different times. Oakwood will take over those leases after their terms end, and will furnish and rent them to corporate clients as they become available, rather than waiting for the entire complex to turn over.

Rates will be based on the market at the time the leases turn over and how much business the corporate client has with Oakwood, Zimmerman said.

Pasadena Profit

IRA Realty Capital saw a $6 million gain late last month when it sold a Pasadena medical office property it acquired just last year.

While it might scream “flip,” the five-year-old Newport Beach private equity firm was approached by a partnership led by Tucson, Ariz., real estate investment firm Holualoa Cos. interested in the Thatcher Medical Building at 960 E. Green St.

The buyers shelled out almost $28 million, or roughly $400 a square foot, for the 73,600-square-foot Class B medical office building, designed in the New Orleans colonial style. The off-market deal was completed without brokers.

IRA paid $21.6 million, just under $300 a square foot, when it bought the property in March of last year.

“We decided to sell after we got an unsolicited offer and felt it was a good return for our investors,” said Jay Gangwal, a principal at IRA. “I think we were well on our way towards stabilizing and reselling the asset in the first quarter of next year.”

When IRA purchased the building, it was only 78 percent leased, according to a company memo. The firm put in a new management team and amped up leasing efforts. It is now 94 percent leased, according to data from CoStar.

Holualoa did not respond to requests for comment.

Gangwal said the firm made the purchase in partnership with local developer Patrick Chraghchian, president of Glendale’s American General Constructors.

Chraghchian could not be reached for comment.

“There is potential development opportunity … so we felt like we were leaving money on the table, which we were OK with,” Gangwal said.

This is not Holualoa’s first purchase in Los Angeles. The firm bought the Pacific Center in downtown L.A.’s Central Business District for $36 million, or $90 a square foot, in 2003, and sold it two years later after making improvements for $66.3 million, or $160 a square foot.

Hollywood Sale

Mid-Wilshire’s CIM Group has sold a seven-story, 87,000-square-foot Class A office building at 1800 N. Highland Ave.

Sources familiar with the transaction said the buyer, Behzad Souferian of West L.A. firm Souferian Group, paid about $45 million for the property and that he plans to reposition the office building.

Souferian Group, which did not respond to requests for comment, has acquired, renovated and repositioned L.A. office buildings in the past, including a five-story, 35,270-square-foot Class A office building at 8075 W. Third St. in West Hollywood, which it sold to L.A. real estate investment firm Continental Development Inc. for almost $20 million, or $550 a square foot, in June. It purchased the building in 2013 for $9.2 million, or $272 a square foot.

CIM, which acquired the Hollywood property in 2004, renovated and repositioned the building for creative office space, replacing the façade with a glass-and-steel structure and demolishing interior walls to create open floor plans.

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

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