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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Slower Building Means Fast Year for Ventura

Signs are pointing to a positive year for the Ventura County commercial real estate markets, with rental rates and sales prices projected to increase due to a dearth of new construction. And net absorption, which returned to pre-recession levels in the office market last year, is expected to continue increasing too. But it’s hard to believe it will top last year, when industrial sales prices rose 20 percent in the region and investment sales hit a record high of 2.2 million square feet. Mark Perry, senior vice president in the Universal City office of CBRE Group, said pricing thresholds were exceeded in both the office and industrial markets last year. “We had nine industrial sale transactions over $5 million, but five of those were portfolio sales, so almost 40 buildings traded hands,” Perry said. “That’s pretty much once-in-a-lifetime.” Driving the sales was the low cost of debt and an improving economy, two factors that pushed risk-averse investors to put their capital to work and leverage up. “Tenants are not struggling and going out of business now. They’re expanding and investors are willing to pay a premium for assets,” he said. That willingness helps explain two historic price thresholds that were broken in the region, Perry told the audience at the annual CBRE Real Estate Symposium and Economic Forecast last month. On the industrial side, an eight-building portfolio was sold for $114 per square foot – breaking the psychological barrier of $100 a square foot. On the office side, the $200 per-square-foot psychological barrier was broken when Westlake Village City Center sold for $13.6 million. The 65,000-square-foot building is 96 percent leased to tenants including Mass Mutual Life Insurance, Bank of America, Farmers Insurance and Lincoln Financial Advisors. Worthe Sales Two 30-year-old buildings in the Burbank Media District have been sold by Worthe Real Estate Group of Santa Monica. A 55,500-square-foot office building at 3300 W. Riverside Drive sold to an undisclosed buyer for $30 million, or $540 a square foot. Originally built-to-suit for Warner Bros. in 1984, the four-story building is 100 percent occupied by New York Film Academy until 2028. Worthe bought the property from Warner Bros. in 2012 for $13 million. The second property, a three-story office building that once housed the private investment arm of the Disney family, sold for $18 million. The 37,300-square-foot property at 4444 Lakeside Drive was purchased by Hayman Advisors LLC of Los Angeles for about $483 a square foot, according to Los Angeles-based Madison Partners, which brokered both deals. That property is currently 100 percent leased to Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. It was designed by prominent architect Charles Luckman, who built the Forum in Inglewood and the theme building at Los Angeles International Airport. Luckman got the commission in 1984 from the Disney family, which wanted a building to house their private investment firm, Shamrock Holdings Inc. of Burbank. That company occupied the building until 2010, when it sold to Worthe principal Jeff Worthe. The sale price at the time was not officially disclosed, but it was reported to be between $10 and $15 million. Bob Safai, Matt Case and Brad Schlaak of Madison Partners represented Worthe in both transactions. Business parks Three San Fernando Valley business parks have changed hands as part of a mammoth, $8.1 billion national portfolio sale. The Burbank Airport Business Park, located just west of the airport off Sherman Way; the Chatsworth Business Park, near Lassen Street and DeSoto Avenue, and the Lurline Business Park, near Plummer Street and DeSoto, sold for more than $100 million in total. The Chatsworth Business Park spans 325,000 square feet and the Lurline Business Park is the smallest at 125,000 square feet. The Burbank property, the largest at 358,000 square feet, has an 11 percent vacancy. The 117-million-square-foot portfolio traded hands when New York private equity firm Blackstone Group sold IndCor Properties to Global Logistic Properties Ltd., a Singapore-listed logistics real estate investment and development firm. IndCor acquired the San Fernando Valley business parks in 2012 and raised rents by 20 percent, Abraham said, following a strategy of buying cheaply, investing heavily and then selling. “They have been willing to put money in to make them really good units. They repainted the outside of every building, put in new pavement and landscaping and upgraded all the interiors when they came on the market,” said Jeff Abraham, associate vice president at Colliers International, the leasing broker. Staff Reporter Karen E. Klein can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or kklein@sfvbj.com.

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