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Brokerage Founder Credits Star for Guiding Career

When she worked as Sharon Stone’s personal assistant, the first instructions Tami Pardee heard from her famous boss were, “I never want to hear the word ‘no’ from you.”

Now, 20 years later, Pardee is the one calling the shots as chief executive of thriving Venice residential brokerage Pardee Properties, which she expects will make $6.5 million in profit this year.

She has remained friends with movie star Stone, from whom she learned the basic instincts of business.

“Sharon was so intense and I worked 18 hours a day,” she said. “But I’m grateful for it, because that mind-set helped me in real estate. A lot of agents are, like, no, that can’t be done. But everything can be done.”

Pardee, 40, worked with several other fascinating figures before going into real estate. She assisted the likes of Sumner Redstone and Harrison Ford while working in the publicity department of Paramount Pictures.

The Clackamas County, Ore., native’s first work experience after moving to Los Angeles at the age of 21 was interning at Beverly Hills’ Playboy Enterprises Inc. It was a role that mostly consisted of photocopying scripts for the adult entertainment company.

“There were all these beautiful women walking around and then there was me, confused about how to use the copiers, which were complicated,” Pardee recalled.

But someone who helped show her the ropes was Richard Rosetti, then Playboy’s president of worldwide production.

Years later she was able to repay his kindness – and utilize his business experience – by hiring her old boss as a broker at her namesake firm.

After four years of hanging her license in the Venice office of Re/Max Holdings Inc., Pardee started Pardee Properties out of her Venice home in 2005, a time when three of her four kids were running around constantly making noise. The firm, which sells luxury homes on the Westside, has grown to include 47 salaried brokers – rare in a brokerage world built on independent contractors – across three offices in Venice, Santa Monica and Mar Vista.

“We’re like a big work family,” she said.

Development Trade

Finally, after three years of being stuck in the entitlement process, West L.A.’s Champion Real Estate Co. has received approval for a mixed-use luxury apartment project on a 1.75-acre land parcel in Hollywood. And after all that, Champion sold it. Mind you, for almost double the price it paid.

Mill Creek Residential Trust paid Champion $40 million last month for the vacant lot at 1600 N. Highland Ave. and 1600 N. McCadden Place, which Champion entitled for 248 luxury apartment units, 13,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 194 public parking spots.

Bob Champion, president of his eponymous firm, said Mill Creek plans to move forward with development soon without any changes.

Mill Creek could not be reached for comment.

Champion Real Estate bought the parcel, along with two adjacent buildings it has since sold, in 2011 for $21 million from Wilton, Conn., investment firm Common Fund.

Champion went through an arduous approvals process. It planned the development based on the guidelines of the Hollywood Community Plan, but when that plan was defeated two years later in Los Angeles Superior Court, the firm was forced back to the drawing board.

By the time its adjusted entitlements were approved, Champion was more focused on redevelopment than ground-up construction.

The firm will deploy the capital from the land sale into more value-add projects, similar to an 87-unit Koreatown apartment building at 701 S. Gramercy Drive that it acquired for $13.4 million last month.

Curtis Palmer of CBRE Group Inc. represented both the buyer and seller in the land sale.

Finally Moving

For a decade, developers have tried to build on a 2.2-acre lot at 3670 Wilshire Blvd. in Koreatown. Finally, one of them – or rather, a partnership – has made headway.

Westwood developer CityView broke ground late last month on a seven-story, 316,000-square-foot mixed-use development with 346 apartment units and 8,300 square feet of retail on the land it owns with its partner, Mid-Wilshire’s Hankey Investment Co.

Hankey bought the property in 2011 for $21 million from South Korean developer Shin Young America after Shin Young’s plan for a 40-story building died in the downturn. CityView joined the project as developer and majority owner last year. It redesigned the project, scaling it back from the 377 units Hankey originally proposed. Then it got to work acquiring permits, said Sean Burton, chief executive of CityView.

The project’s amenities will include a yoga studio and spa.

CityView declined to comment on how much the development will cost to build. But it has some capital. The firm announced last week that it sold four L.A. properties for $141 million after acquiring them at a deep discount during the recession.

Staff reporter Hannah Miet can be reached at hmiet@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 228.

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