Rosa Foods Inc., maker of the Soylent meal replacement drink, just boosted the nascent office market in downtown’s Arts District, signing a large lease just under $4 a square foot monthly, according to a source familiar with the deal.

Rosa has agreed to take 29,000 square feet at a retail and office complex under construction on Mateo Street, according to project developers ASB Real Estate Investments and Blatteis & Schnur.

Four-year-old Soylent currently leases about 14,000 square feet at the Broadway Civic Center downtown.

The move won’t come until May at the earliest, when the Arts District project, called At Mateo, is scheduled to open. The $80 million development consists of ground-up construction in an industrial style that will offer 50,000 square feet of office space and 125,000 square feet of retail space.

“Signing a cutting-edge food company like Soylent is an auspicious way to kick off the project’s office leasing,” ASB President Robert Bellinger said in a statement.

Asking monthly rents on other Arts District projects range from $3.50 to $4 a square foot, local brokers said, while Warner Music Group Corp. signed a lease in October to occupy the Ford Factory at a monthly rate of about $3.24 a square foot, according to public filings.

Office leasing in the Arts District is at a point of flux as more than 1 million square feet of high-end space are under development in a market that, until recently, was home to industrial companies. Other than Warner Music, few high-profile companies have flocked to the area, although Hyperloop One, a high-speed tube transport startup, began leasing space there in 2015.

“Downtown Los Angeles has been the perfect home for our growing business,” Rob Rhinehart, founder of Soylent and Rosa Foods, said in a statement. “The Arts District is a hub of diversity, creativity and innovation.”

CBRE’s Daniel Rainer and Blake Mirkin represented At Mateo in the deal, while Tucker Hughes of Hughes Marino represented Soylent.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Andrew Tashjian has since taken the listing for the remaining space.

Home Run

Anda Realty has purchased a downtown Pasadena office building for $15 million, or $273 a square foot, in an area it knows very well: the corner across the street from its headquarters.

“We love Pasadena,” said Andy Carpiac, a partner at Anda. “When we invest in a market we know well, we tend to do better.”

Anda arranged the acquisition of the 105-year-old building on behalf of its exclusive partner, a Geneva-based family office that Carpiac declined to name. Anda also owns several New York properties and the Palm Springs Hard Rock Hotel, but is now aiming to get a toehold in suburban L.A. office areas that feel dense and lively, Carpiac said.

The building, at Colorado Boulevard and Marengo Avenue, is nearly 90 percent occupied, with monthly rates for recently renovated spaces ranging from $3 to $3.30 a square foot. Pasadena’s monthly average is $3.16 a square foot, according to fourth-quarter data from Jones Lang LaSalle.

Carpiac said the seller, Barker Pacific Group of downtown Los Angeles, renovated many of the suites in the 54,961-square-foot property, which it purchased in 2015 for $8.6 million, or about $156 a square foot. Monthly rents at the time were around $2 a square foot.

The building has suites ranging from 350 to 700 square feet, which Carpiac said created an opportunity for startups that lease desks in nearby co-working facilities as they prepare to expand.

“We’re one of the only games in town where you can rent 400 square feet,” he said.

JLL’s Tom Bohlinger and Jon Lange represented both Anda and Barker.

Creative Culver

Developer Bow West Capital is set to buy a 28-year-old warehouse in Culver City for more than $10 million with plans to convert the 17,490-square-foot property into a creative office.

Andrew Sinasohn, a vice president at Century City-based Zacuto Group who brokered the all-cash deal, said Bow West targeted the area for its appeal to companies looking for a central L.A. location.

“Culver City is a dream from an HR perspective,” Sinasohn said. “You can pull from downtown just as easily as you can get from West Hollywood or Santa Monica.”

The warehouse at 3309 La Cienega Place, owned by BG Holdings and used by events company Bob Gail Enterprises Inc., sits on a 33,000-square-foot lot close to Lincoln Property Co.’s Blackwelder creative office complex. That project’s success, along with a wave of other local creative office conversion projects, gave Sinasohn and Bow West President Sean Beddoe the confidence to jump in.

“We don’t want to be pioneers,” Sinasohn said. “We’re trying to buy something underutilized in an area that has a lot of room for growth.”

Staff reporter Daina Beth Solomon can be reached at dsolomon@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 556-8337.

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