It’s not every day that large properties on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade become available.

Which is why Glendale’s American Realty Advisors was willing to shell out $96.3 million last month to acquire Criterion on the Promenade, a building at 312 Arizona Ave. with 30,000 square feet of retail space, 23,000 square feet of office space and 32 apartments.

And get this: The sellers, a joint venture between Santa Monica’s Metropolitan Pacific Capital and a fund managed by New York’s Clarion Partners, paid only $13.8 million to acquire the asset in 2010, which they renovated last year.

American Realty paid more than $1,800 a square foot – $300 above the average for mixed-use retail properties in Santa Monica, according to real estate information firm CoStar Group Inc. By comparison, the average for similar properties in the city of Los Angeles is only $350 a square foot.

The deal proves that, if you can hack it, it pays to acquire in prime locations such as Santa Monica’s shopping district during a downturn and make renovations in higher times.

The retail and office portions were fully leased at the time of sale. Major tenants include Victoria’s Secret; Brookstone; and WeWork, a provider of co-working space.

The sellers were represented by Christopher Hoffman and Rikki Keating of Eastdil Secured. No buyer broker was listed.

Billionaires’ Broker

If you want to work with China’s wealthiest property investors, list a celebrity home in Los Angeles for a record price.

That advice might seem illogical, but such was the path for Sally Forster Jones, president of international luxury properties at John Aaroe Group’s Beverly Hills office.

While working at Coldwell Banker’s Beverly Hills office in 2011, Jones made international news by co-brokering one of the most high-profile deals in L.A. history: the sale of Candy Spelling’s mansion. The manor, built by the late TV producer Aaron Spelling, sold for $85 million to then-22-year-old billionaire heiress Petra Ecclestone. Originally listed at $150 million, it was the highest-price home in the United States at the time.

News of the deal reached China and was seen by Rupert Hoogewerf, editor in chief of Hurun Report, which publishes an annual list of the wealthiest people of Chinese origin. Hoogewerf asked Jones to speak on a panel at an event for the wealthiest people featured in the 2014 issue. She attended, eagerly, with a translator and was interviewed on stage. Then, she networked hard. She is still in touch and working with many of the Chinese families that were in attendance.

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