A handful of 50 sites once controlled by the Community Redevelopment Agency of the city of Los Angeles remain available, and another has just been snatched up.

The Colburn School acquired the land beneath its Grand Avenue building last month for $1.6 million. The deal comes after a publicized tussle with another bidder, downtown’s JMF Development, which had reportedly secured the site with its own $1.6 million bid. But Colburn had the right of refusal, said Marc Renard, a vice president in Cushman & Wakefield’s global capital markets group who marketed the asset with Jimmy Chai and Manfred Schaub.

The music conservatory had leased the land from the CRA since building its campus in 1998.

“This landmark transaction ensures that the Colburn School will remain a vital presence downtown for decades to come and in complete control of its future,” Mark Berry, Colburn’s vice president of communications, said in a statement. The school also bought two parking lots across the street at Second and Olive streets for $31 million from System Property Development Co. in June, preparing for possible growth.

The parcels once held by the CRA – now known as successor agency CRA/LA after the demise of California redevelopment agencies in 2012 – include odd slices of land such as a 556-square-foot parcel in Pico-Union and a “commercial easement” in South Los Angeles. But one prestigious site is still left: six acres at downtown’s California Plaza, where two office towers boast tenants such as Deloitte, Aecom, and Merrill Lynch. The buildings reside on a parcel with a 66-year ground lease, with One California Plaza paying $936,000 a year and Two California Plaza paying $2.3 million. The rents are scheduled to increase by 20 percent every decade.

“With the durability of cash flow, this is as close to investment-grade bond in our industry as any asset,” Renard said.

The bidding process opened in June and Renard said he expects a deal to close within the next couple of months.

Long View

A steel and glass office building on the east side of Long Beach sold for nearly $26 million, or roughly $218 a square foot, according to a source familiar with the transaction. The nearly 120,000-square-foot property called Park Tower was purchased by Anaheim-based Milan Capital Management from Bahrain’s Investcorp.

Cushman & Wakefield investment specialists Ed Hernandez, Jeffrey Cole, and Nico Napolitano represented Investcorp, which had brought the building to full occupancy after its 2011 purchase. Milan was looking to invest in a coastal market after selling properties in the Inland Empire.


The developer behind downtown’s Metropolis development is making its second West Coast mark. Greenland USA, a downtown subsidiary of Shanghai’s Greenland Group, purchased a 42-acre site in South San Francisco for $171 million and plans to develop the waterfront area into an office and research complex targeting the life science industries. The sellers were Shorenstein Properties and SKS Investments. Greenland plans to invest more than $1 billion in the project, called the Landing at Oyster Point.

Title Transfer

Caruso Affiliated has pulled Corinne Verdery from NBCUniversal to become its executive vice president of development. She will take over for Matt Middlebrook, who recently became Caruso’s executive vice president for strategic development and innovation. Verdery was chief real estate development officer for four years at NBCUniversal, overseeing investments in entertainment production and tourism. She was previously senior vice president of Oasis West Realty, hotelier Beny Alagem’s company that spearheaded the Beverly Hilton renovation and Waldorf-Astoria construction in Beverly Hills. Caruso’s latest project, a three-acre shopping and dining development in Pacific Palisades, won City Hall approval in June and construction began shortly after. … Cushman & Wakefield has tapped Eric Kenas as research market director for Los Angeles, based in downtown. He previously was a director for research and marketing at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.

Staff reporter Daina Beth Solomon can be reached at dsolomon@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.

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