While the industry is abuzz with chatter – and panel discussions – about Asian capital flowing into downtown Los Angeles, other international players are picking up properties, and they don’t have as far to travel.
Canadian investors and developers have been very active in the market, often paying well above the going rate for major properties.
Last week, downtown developer Rising Realty Partners sold the historic 464,000-square-foot PacMutual center for a whopping $200 million to Montreal’s Ivanhoe Cambridge, a real estate subsidiary of major Canadian institutional fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, and Chicago private equity firm Callahan Capital Properties.
Meanwhile, a Canadian player that has been hyperactive in L.A. as of late, Vancouver developer Onni Group, shifted its focus back downtown after a quick jaunt last month into the Manhattan Beach market, where it acquired the Manhattan Towers property for roughly $96 million.
Onni confirmed its allegiance to downtown by paying a nonrefundable deposit to buy a 220,770-square-foot Class A office tower at 800 Wilshire Blvd. for more than $79.5 million. The deal is expected to close in less than two months.
Onni agreed to pay more than $360 a square foot, which is more than $10 a square foot above seller Lincoln Property Co.’s asking price, sources said. That’s significantly heftier than the $285 a square foot average in the downtown market, according to CoStar Group Inc.
The price did not, however, reach the new record per-square-foot price of $430 set in the PacMutual sale.
The 800 Wilshire property is two blocks from 600 Wilshire, which Onni acquired for $78 million last year.
“There’s some synergy, having them close, in terms of management, because we manage our properties, and our intention is to capture what we see as a rise in the downtown office market going forward,” said Kevin Carpenter, vice president of acquisitions at Onni.
Once the deal closes, the firm will have acquired seven properties in downtown Los Angeles. It also owns three lots in the market and has submitted proposals for residential and mixed-use developments on them.
Lincoln and its capital partner, New York investment firm Angelo Gordon & Co., bought 800 Wilshire in May 2013 for $48.2 million, or $218 a square foot, from Prudential Insurance Co. of America. It was then 60 percent leased.
Lincoln renovated the building, transforming outdated tenant spaces into modern creative offices as well as bringing in Dianna Wong Architecture + Interior Design to give the lobby a boutique hotel feel and luring in tenant 800 Degrees Pizza to build out a full-scale restaurant on the ground level. The property is now 95 percent leased by tenants that include FedEx Corp., co-working space Cross Campus and law firm Kegel Tobin & Truce.
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