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State GOP Sells Longtime Headquarters in Valley

Burbank was Ronald Reagan Country in the 1980s. Which is why it made sense for the California Republican Party to establish its state headquarters in the city, following the donation of a 7,600-square-foot Magnolia Boulevard office building to the party by a wealthy individual. But times change: In 2012, Burbank voters supported President Barak Obama’s reelection by about 60 percent to 40 percent. In Los Angeles County as a whole, the vote tally was closer to 70-30. And of the state’s 17.7 million voters, just 28 percent were registered Republicans as of last year, the majority of them in the Central Valley and Orange and San Diego counties, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. So it wasn’t surprising that little notice was taken when the party shut down its Burbank headquarters and moved out of town late last year. Jim Brulte, state party chairman, noted that the majority of the group’s 21 employees had worked out of Sacramento for years. “The Burbank headquarters was a wonderful building which served the party very well, but it didn’t really meet the needs of a 21st-century political headquarters,” he said. The two staffers who still worked in Burbank, opening direct-response mail and depositing donors’ checks, have moved to an office at 26523 Carl Boyer Drive in Santa Clarita. And the Republican Party of Los Angeles County, which had leased office space at the Burbank building since 2013, moved to a new headquarters at 16133 Ventura Blvd. in Encino. Law of One LLC, the local arm of a Hong Kong media production company, purchased the building at 1901-1903 W. Magnolia Blvd. from the Republican Party Building Fund in an all-cash transaction Nov. 24, according to real estate data provider CoStar Group Inc.. The buyers paid the full asking price of $2.15 million, or about $282 a square foot. Broker Evan Weiss, a vice president at BRC Advisors in Beverly Hills, represented Law of One, which does printing and labeling of DVD and Blu-ray discs for Hollywood entertainment companies. The principals, both U.S. citizens who live in China, initially planned to move their operations to Burbank, but have since decided against that due to the difficulty of an international move and language barriers for their employees, he said. Now, the owners plan to renovate the building for a post-production company and make room for a coffeehouse on the first floor, which would require a zone change. “We’re trying to make the building sexier by making it stand out, in a clean way, in an area where a lot of the buildings all look the same,” Weiss said. Last month, the Republican Party Building Fund, which Brulte chairs, paid $1.58 million for the vacant fourth floor of a Sacramento office building at 1001 K. St., one block north of the state Capitol. Brulte said the party plans to build out the space as a headquarters, with room for 30 employees and volunteer phone banks when the organization takes occupancy early next year, in time for the 2016 election cycle. Like its headquarters in Burbank, the Sacramento headquarters will be called the Ronald Reagan California Republican Center. In fact Brulte, a Reagan Administration appointee, cleared the sale last year with Nancy Reagan, reaching out to her through her son-in-law, Dennis Revell, who is on the party’s board of directors. After he promised the former first lady that the Sacramento office would also be named after the former president, she approved the plan. “I didn’t want to be the guy to sell the Reagan headquarters in Burbank,” he said.

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