By ELIZABETH HAYES
The developer of the new Staples Center arena downtown is moving forward with its plan to build a major entertainment district on 25 acres surrounding the arena.
Last week, Staples Center President Tim Leiweke announced that three firms have been hired to assist in forming a master site plan: RTKL Associates Inc., an architecture firm that will lead the urban design efforts; E & Y; Kenneth Leventhal, which will focus on the feasibility of a major hotel; and Economic Research Associates, which will evaluate the retail and entertainment portion of the project, including the amount of space and market segments it could attract.
The arena developer, L.A. Arena Co., wants to roll out its concepts next summer, said Ted Tanner, vice president of real estate for the company. Plans call for a convention hotel, shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.
“It really is an exciting opportunity to bring life to downtown and add to the experience of the downtown workforce,” Tanner said.
The L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency is acquiring land around the arena that it will turn over to the developer, which has committed about $18 million toward the acquisition. In the short term, most of the area will be used for parking for the arena, which is slated to open in October.
Citicorp Real Estate has decided to sell the mortgage it holds on the 1999 Avenue of the Stars office tower, also known as SunAmerica Center.
The 38-story building, one of the most prominent on the Westside, is owned by JMB Realty Corp.
While the building’s rental and occupancy rates are high with a blue-chip tenant roster that includes SunAmerica Inc., Bear Stearns & Co. and O’Melveny & Myers it is burdened with a debt load of at least $400 million, according to one knowledgeable source.
So Citicorp has hired Eastdil Realty to sell the mortgage, which is in the form of bonds.
“They’re figuring they’ll get 85 cents on the dollar for the bonds,” the source said. That would translate to about $400 per square foot, or more than $300 million.
Eastdil officials declined to comment. JMB officials did not return phone calls.
Trammell Crow Co. will soon begin building a new $15 million office project on the Northridge site of the Harmon International Business Center, which was severely damaged in the 1994 earthquake, said Mark Ossola, vice president of development.
The property, at the center of the business park at Balboa Avenue north of Roscoe Boulevard, will be redeveloped into a three-story, 130,000-square-foot office building, which Trammell Crow expects to offer for lease to either a single tenant or to multiple users.
Buildings formerly on the site, which had been unoccupied since the quake, were demolished earlier this month. Groundbreaking on the new facility is expected in April.
Called The Centre, the project will have its own entrance and exit, but is part of a 44.5-acre office campus built 40 years ago. As the rest of the park is almost fully leased, Trammell Crow expects to have no difficulty leasing its spec building.
Business park coming
Long Beach-based Bixby Land Co. has acquired 10.6 acres of land in Norwalk and plans to develop a $15 million mixed-use business park there, with three industrial multi-tenant buildings and a retail pad.
The project, to be called Carmenita Corporate Center, is at the southeast corner of Rosecrans Avenue and Carmenita Road. It is being developed for Bixby on a for-fee basis by Western Realco of Newport Beach.
The area has few developable parcels and a vacancy rate of less than 6 percent, according to Vance Mape, principal of Western Realco.
On the land acquisition, Patrick Remolacio and Dan Weil of the Seeley Co. represented Bixby and Wells Fargo Bank, the seller. They are also the exclusive marketing agents for the new park.
Office project begins
Foregoing a formal groundbreaking, construction has begun on the $55 million office building at 6060 Center Drive at Howard Hughes Center, a few miles north of the Los Angeles International Airport.
The 10-story, 240,000-square-foot project is being developed by Arden Realty and Lowe Enterprises, and is scheduled to be ready for occupancy in the spring of 2000.
The development of Howard Hughes Center began in 1988. It is a multi-phased project that is entitled for up to 2.7 million square feet of office and commercial space, two hotels, several restaurants, retail and sports facilities. Arden bought the center from the Howard Hughes Corp. in 1998 and is overseeing development of the remaining 34 acres. The 6060 Center Drive building is the first project on that remaining acreage.
While no one has leased space there yet, it has attracted interest from financial and telecommunications firms, said Arden President Victor Coleman.
Burbank tenant deal
The second phase of Media Studios North in Burbank has landed another tenant, Alltel Information Services. The 23,000-square-foot lease pushes occupancy at the project to 60 percent.
Developed by M. David Paul Development, the five-story building at 2255 Ontario Ave. was completed last fall and includes such amenities as an on-site private health club, sand volleyball court, commissary, nine-hole putting green and jogging track. Other tenants in the project include Equilon Enterprises, a joint venture of Texaco and Shell; and Microcadam, an IBM subsidiary.
Jay Blanton of the Harris Group joined with Chris Regal of CRESA Partners to represent Alltel. Brad Feld of Cushman & Wakefield represented M. David Paul.
Wilshire Center portfolio grows
An entity controlled by Dr. David Lee, a major Wilshire Center investor, has acquired the 250,000-square-foot building at 3660 Wilshire Blvd. Wilshire Park Place LLC, through managing partner Lee, bought the property for about $14 million. Marc Renard and Brad Feld of Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller, Runvee Hobart Ltd. The deal comes on the heels of Lee’s purchase of 3600 Wilshire next door, for which he paid $22.4 million, said Kevin Shannon of the Seeley Co. Lee now owns about 3.5 million square feet in the market.
Staff writer Shelly Garcia contributed to this report. Elizabeth Hayes can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 229.