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Oil Company Strikes Deal in Warner Center

Warner Gateway Center has sold for $40 million, fetching the highest per-square-foot price of any Class A office building in the Western San Fernando Valley submarket this year. The two-building office complex in Woodland Hills was acquired by Thrifty Oil Co. for $101 a square foot. Thrifty purchased the complex, constructed in 1989, from Los Angeles non-profit Weingart Foundation. The buildings are just north of the Ventura (101) Freeway, at 21820-21860 Burbank Blvd. and tenants include the Los Angeles Daily News, financial services company Burns & Wilson LLC and liquidation firm Great American Group Inc. The 250,000-square-foot complex was 70 percent occupied at the time of the deal. It includes an 800-space parking garage. Brokers involved in the deal declined to comment, but according to research from real estate data provider CoStar Group Inc., Weingart was looking to shed the building so that it can invest the money outside of real estate. Thrifty, which got its start in real estate as the landlord for hundreds of gas stations across the state, also owns the 265-acre Golden Springs Business Center in Rancho Santa Fe, through its subsidiary Golden Springs Development Co. Thrifty plans on doing some rehab work, including upgraded elevators. Kevin Shannon, Thomas Bohlinger, Michael Longo and Ken White of CBRE Inc.’s Los Angeles office represented Weingart. Thrifty represented itself. Creative Makeover The Westside isn’t the only area submarket with designs on creative tenants. The new owners of several mid-century industrial buildings in Burbank have plans to renovate the buildings into an office park for high-tech creative users. BV Empire LLC acquired the buildings, at 2405-2409 West Empire Ave., in March for $3 million. The 22,343-square-foot property will be renovated with a new roof and façade, exposed beams, track lighting, polished concrete floors, and upgraded electrical and handicap access. Brett Warner, a principal at Lee & Associates’ Sherman Oaks office who represented the buyer, said the new owners, a group of private investors, hope to attract entertainment and other creative companies who do work for nearby studios. The investors have converted similar projects in the area. “Empire Avenue has really been rezoned in a lot of ways to be more commercial than industrial, so the rehab will focus on higher-tech touches for use by creative users, production and post-production work,” he said. The buildings, constructed in the 1940s and 1950s, are expected to go on the market for possible sale or lease later this year. The properties are divided into units ranging from 2,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet. Matthews Equipment Studio, the previous tenant, has already relocated to another location just a few miles away, adjacent to the airport. Warner said the renovation work is already underway. Greg Geraci and Dave Harding of CBRE’s Universal City office represented the seller, PDM Financial LLC. Big Easy North Cinema Vehicles Service, a company that rents cars for use in movie and television productions, renewed its lease this month in North Hollywood and added a second location – in New Orleans. The company has been at its 12580 Saticoy St. location since 1997, and renewed the lease in a deal valued at $6.9 million. Brent Weirick, senior vice president at Colliers International’s Encino office represented the tenant in the lease renewal. The company also decided to open a second location in Louisiana to take advantage of the film business being done in the state as a result of tax credits that have lured producers there. Gian Starita, vice president at Colliers’ Encino office, coordinated the deal after bringing in Louisiana representatives to speak with several interested clients. Cinema Vehicles leased 46,000 square feet on 13 acres. The lease is valued at $600,000 for an undisclosed length. “They have an option to buy, and that’s probably the best way to go about it,” Starita said. “They need to see if the tax incentives will stay in place and continue to capture movie industry business to support them.” Staff reporter Kelly Goff can be reached at (818) 316-3135 or kgoff@gmail.com

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