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Rebriefs

Grubb & Ellis Co. is beefing up its property management operations in the West, including Los Angeles.

The company in years past essentially limited its management activities to the East, while focusing on the brokerage side of the business out West. As recently as six months ago, G & E; didn’t have a single property under management in L.A.

But Grubb & Ellis Management Services Inc. broke into the management side here last December when it was chosen to manage the 300,000-square-foot Figueroa Courtyard office complex in downtown L.A., said Jim Rosten, president of G & E;’s Western region.

Since then, the company has increased its L.A.-area property management portfolio to 8 million square feet. Elsewhere in the West, G & E; has built its management portfolio from 4.5 million square feet six months ago to 7 million square feet today.

G & E;’s total management portfolio for the Western region which extends from Portland to San Francisco, Sacramento, Southern California, Denver and Tucson contains 15 million square feet, encompassing office, retail and industrial space.

The increase has come about partly through G & E;’s acquisitions of Crane Realty & Management Co. and LaCagnina & Associates, referrals from the sales and leasing departments, and as a result of new hires, Rosten said.

He anticipates G & E;’s Western regional portfolio will contain close to 25 million square feet by the end of the year. Still, he added, “We’re not in a race to be the biggest on the block.”

Tooley & Co. still holds that distinction in L.A. County, where it has more than 15 million square feet under management.

More on Fig Courtyard

Figueroa Courtyard, the only campus-style office complex downtown, is being given “a whole different look,” said Ross A. Crowe, vice president and director of operations for the L.A. region of Grubb & Ellis.

Carter, Romaneck Landscape Architects has created new landscaping plans for both the auto and pedestrian entrances to the complex. A main pedestrian plaza accessed off Figueroa has been designed to lead into the five low-rise office buildings, which vary in height from two to five stories. There will be garden pathways, exterior seating, rock gardens and fountains, and more trees will be added.

“It’s considerably more up to date,” Crowe said of the design. “It needed to be livened up and cleaned up.”

The 270,000-square-foot office campus at the corner of Figueroa and Third streets was originally constructed in the 1970s. Crowe said the project is being marketed to high-tech, telecom and entertainment tenants. While it is now half empty, he expects occupancy will soon increase to 75 percent or more.

Farmer’s choice

It’s official: Santa Monica-based Caruso Affiliated Holdings will be the developer of the Farmer’s Market remake. Called The Grove at Farmer’s Market, the proposed 640,000-square-foot center has been designed to feature major retailers, a multiplex movie theater, shops and restaurants in an open-air environment, in addition to 80,000 square feet of low-rise office space.

The new center is to be developed to the east and north of the original market and is being designed to feature open plazas for dining and entertainment and a two-acre village square with walkways, fountains and art. Plans call for old “Red Car” trolleys to run inside the project, and a new entryway to be installed on Third Street.

Caruso was chosen by A.F. Gilmore Co., which has owned the market since 1880. The company has city approvals to build 750,000 square feet of retail on the 30-acre property. The trademark food court and collection of produce vendors will stay.

Rick Caruso, founder and president of Caruso Affiliated Holdings, has specialized in open-air retail centers, which he has developed in Westlake Village and Encino.

Valley action

Lincoln Property Co. completed its purchase of the Rye Canyon Business Park in Valencia from Lockheed Martin Corp., said Tom Festa, a broker with Grubb & Ellis who represented Lincoln. That property includes 475,000 square feet of industrial and office space on 377 acres, he said. Lincoln plans to develop the unused portions of the site. Sources close to the deal said the property sold for almost $25 million.

In Granada Hills, Washington, D.C.-based Combined Properties Inc. has acquired the 201,000-square-foot Granada Hills Town Center for $40 million. The acquisition increases CPI’s shopping center portfolio to 34 properties throughout the Washington, D.C. and L.A. areas.

In another deal, Katell Properties has selected Lincoln Property to develop the residential portion of its $200 million Warner Ridge project in Woodland Hills. Lincoln will be responsible for building the 125 luxury apartment units slated to begin construction this month. Warner Ridge is entitled to include 700,000 square feet of mid-rise office space in addition to the residential units.

Compton lease

Hain Food Group, which manufactures and distributes food products, has leased a 100,000-square-foot building at the Los Angeles Industrial Center in Compton to expand its West Coast regional headquarters.

Daniel B. Sibson, real estate manager for Investment Development Services Inc. of L.A., said New York-based Hain recently occupied the concrete tilt-up distribution building at 255 Carob St. in Compton. About 50 people are employed there. He and Jeff Morgan and John Schumacher of CB Richard Ellis represented Equitable Life Insurance Co., the property owner. Travers/McKinney and Insignia Commercial jointly represented Hain. The five-year lease is valued at about $2 million.

The industrial center is a six-building complex that is now 92 percent occupied, with 50,000 square feet still vacant, Sibson said. IDS handles leasing for the entire center.

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