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Equity Office Daily Brief: March 16, 2016

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Daily Brief

March 16, 2016

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What Does Latest Jobs Number Mean for U.S. Office Markets?

World Property Journal

 

With uncertainty permeating the financial markets and global economic outlook in early 2016, CBRE Group has been monitoring key office market indicators for any impact of these factors on tenant demand. So what do the latest jobs numbers tell us? According to...

 


Chinese hotel firm buys Yamashiro property in Hollywood Hills

Los Angeles Times

 

A prime hillside plot in the Hollywood Hills featuring the landmark Yamashiro restaurant has been sold to a Beijing company for nearly $40 million, the latest in a wave of Chinese investment sweeping Los Angeles. The sale represents the first purchase in...

 


J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live Offers Expansion Details

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

Sports and entertainment giant Anschutz Entertainment Group has offered new details on a $500-million expansion of the J.W. Marriott hotel complex at L.A. Live to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council's Planning and Land Use Committee, just one month after filing...

 



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Ferguson, Khourie Take New Roles at CBRE

GlobeSt.com

 

As part of a series of leadership changes in its real estate investment subsidiaries, CBRE Group has promoted Ritson Ferguson to CEO of CBRE Global Investors. Matt Khourie, who has led CBRE GI for the past six years, is returning to...

 


Victory Studios Sells for $15.4M

CoStar.com

 

LLJ Ventures and Cowley Real Estate Partners acquired the Victory Studios at 1840 Victory Blvd. in Glendale, CA from two trusts for $15.38 million, or approximately $272 per square foot. Built in 1969, the property is located on the northwest corner of...

 

FULL TEXT


What Does Latest Jobs Number Mean for U.S. Office Markets?

World Property Journal

 

With uncertainty permeating the financial markets and global economic outlook in early 2016, CBRE Group has been monitoring key office market indicators for any impact of these factors on tenant demand. So what do the latest jobs numbers tell us?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' preliminary numbers, the primary office-using sub-sectors added an average of 40,000 jobs in January and February 2016, a slowdown from the robust 73,000 monthly average in Q4 2015. However, this was similar to 2014 and 2015 when office-using employment growth got off to a sluggish start in the first quarter, before subsequently picking up later in the year. Seasonal factors, including atypical weather patterns, may have impacted the data during these periods. On an annual basis, office-using job growth was strong, exceeding 2% in February 2016 for the 19th-consecutive month. Annual office job growth has outpaced overall job growth in all but two months since September 2010, when both sectors resumed adding jobs on a year-over-year basis.

CBRE reports that while it is premature to draw definitive conclusions from two months of data (and preliminary data at that), office-using job creation through early 2016 appears to have been stable, resilient and, thus far, consistent with the trend during the last few years. The early data support their view for 2016 that office-using job growth will fuel tenant demand which, in combination with still-low levels of construction activity, will result in the vacancy rate approaching pre-recession levels by year-end.

Andrea Cross, Americas head of office research for CBRE tells World Property Journal, "Office-using employment proved resilient in the first two months of 2016, increasing at a healthy pace even amid financial market volatility and fears regarding a global economic slowdown. Nearly all sub-sectors of office-using employment added jobs during the period, illustrating the breadth of job creation across industries and beyond just the tech-driven markets that led coming out of the recession."

-Michael Gerrity

Chinese hotel firm buys Yamashiro property in Hollywood Hills

Los Angeles Times

 

A prime hillside plot in the Hollywood Hills featuring the landmark Yamashiro restaurant has been sold to a Beijing company for nearly $40 million, the latest in a wave of Chinese investment sweeping Los Angeles.

The sale represents the first purchase in the United States for JE Group, a hotel operator known for refurbishing historic properties on its home turf.

Kang Jianyi, chairman of JE, said there will be few changes to the site, except for sprucing up the aging buildings, including a small hotel, apartments and the restaurant building, a replica of a palace near Kyoto, Japan.

“Los Angeles is a fashionable city,” said Kang, who was in Pasadena and spoke through a translator Tuesday. “The entire world knows Hollywood.”

The seven-acre property was marketed by brokerage Colliers International as a development opportunity, but Kang said new construction would not be appropriate. Instead, he vowed to keep open both the restaurant and the Hollywood Hills Hotel and Apartments, which has a mix of 43 units.

Kang added that his company is in negotiations with the current operators of Yamashiro — a restaurant popular with tourists and as a place to celebrate special events — and that it was possible there would be a new restaurant operator.

Kang said some Chinese investors are part of the deal that closed Monday, though he declined to name them.

JE's purchase is just the latest marquee acquisition for a Chinese company in the United States, seen as a haven for diversifying holdings as China's economy slows.

On Monday, Anbang Insurance Group Co., a Chinese insurer, made an unsolicited $12.8-billion offer for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc., which owns the Westin and Sheraton brands.

The offer came only days after Anbang reportedly agreed to buy Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc., whose posh properties include the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego and the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.

Now JE wants in on the action. The firm has seven hotels in China, and Kang said he hopes to expand beyond Los Angeles to other major cities, such as Seattle, San Francisco and Miami.

The Yamashiro property, which drew interest from other international buyers, has been up for sale before.

In 2007, more than 10 descendants of Thomas O. Glover, who bought the property for $150,000 in 1948, agreed to put it on the market, along with the nearby Magic Castle, a private club for magicians they also owned.

The property was seen as a development opportunity at that time — perhaps for a larger hotel — but local residents were concerned that any construction would spoil the neighborhood's ambience and worsen traffic. A sale was never consummated and the financial crisis hit.

Now, the descendants decided to sell only the Yamashiro site, which also includes a vacant home, an administrative building and a 600-year old pagoda imported from Japan.

John Tronson, a principal with commercial real estate brokerage Avison Young, said the nearly $40-million price tag seemed a bit high if JE didn't build something else, such as more residences or another hotel. But he noted the hillside property is difficult to develop, given slopes, its historic designation and likely strong opposition from neighbors.

“It's a really challenging site,” said Tronson, who was not involved with the sale.

Kang's plans not to develop the site could help to assuage concerns over the change of ownership.

Colliers International's marketing brochure cites the land's “untapped development potential,” noting zoning would allow 382 residential units. But it also states the historic restaurant building, gardens and other structures would need to be taken into consideration.

The sale comes amid a backlash over development in Hollywood. Local activists are pushing a ballot measure to crack down on what they see as the “Manhattanization” of Los Angeles.

In downtown Los Angeles, skyline-altering projects underway from Chinese developers include Greenland Group's $1-billion Metropolis hotel and condo development, as well as Oceanwide Real Estate Group's massive hotel, retail and residential project a few blocks away.

Cranes dot the Hollywood skyline and recent projects include Kilroy Realty Corp.'s Columbia Square, a $420-million office, residential and retail complex that finished construction in January.

More is probably on the way. Developer Crescent Heights, for example, hopes to break ground early next year on two 30-story residential towers known as the Palladium Residences.

“There is a lot of capital and a lot of investor interest in this incredible, dynamic area,” said Stephen Algermissen, a Colliers International executive vice president who represented the sellers in the Yamashiro deal. “There are a lot of businesses going there. There are a lot of people that want to live there.”

Kitty Wallace, a Colliers executive vice president who also represented the sellers, said Hollywood's boom attracted interest from buyers all over the world.

They included a group from Italy that wanted to turn the Yamashiro property into a private club and fashion runway, as well as a principal of a northern California tech company who hoped to base a think tank there.

“It's arguably one of the best sites west of the Mississippi,” Wallace said.

Finished in 1914 by the Bernheimer brothers, the Yamashiro building — with its garden courtyard and koi ponds — is part of Hollywood lore.

Millionaire silk importer Adolph Bernheimer and his brother Eugene lived at the mansion for a time and charged Angelenos 25 cents each to see their Asian art collection they kept on site.

By the 1920s, the mansion had transformed into an exclusive social club for the Hollywood elite, including actors Lillian Gish and Ramon Navarro. During World War II, it was mistakenly rumored to be a signal tower for the Japanese and was vandalized.

It became a restaurant, with sweeping views of the city, in the 1960s.

Kang vowed to maintain and “respect” the architecture of the historic buildings during the renovation process.

“We are a very culturally sensitive restaurant and hotel chain,” he said.

That sounded good to Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy at the Los Angeles Conservancy, who was concerned over what might happen to the site in development-happy Hollywood.

“If it's in safe hands with a new buyer that understands and appreciates it, that is fantastic news,” he said.

-Staff writer Andrew Khouri, Julie Makinen and researchers Nicole Liu and Yingzhi Yang in The Times' Beijing bureau contributed to this report.

J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live Offers Expansion Details

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

Sports and entertainment giant Anschutz Entertainment Group has offered new details on a $500-million expansion of the J.W. Marriott hotel complex at L.A. Live to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council's Planning and Land Use Committee, just one month after filing plans with the city.

Urbanize L.A. reported Tuesday that the proposed development, being designed by downtown L.A. architecture firm Gensler, calls for the construction of a 38-story hotel tower at Olympic Boulevard and Georgia Street.

The proposal arrives as the city pursues adding new hotel stock within walking distance of the Los Angeles Convention Center, which has struggled for years to compete with regional rivals due to a shortage of exhibition space and guest rooms.

With the expansion, scheduled to break ground in early 2017, the J.W. Marriott hotel would feature a total of 1,756 guest rooms and 270,000 square feet of conference space when completed. The new 755-room tower will also feature approximately 17,800 square feet of street-fronting retail space, as well as a fitness center, rooftop pool, amenity deck and several food-and-beverage venues.

The second component of the project calls for the construction of two floors atop the nearby Olympic West Parking Garage, adding 170,000 square feet of meeting, exhibition and event space for the hotel.

-Elyse Glickman

Ferguson, Khourie Take New Roles at CBRE

GlobeSt.com

 

As part of a series of leadership changes in its real estate investment subsidiaries, CBRE Group has promoted Ritson Ferguson to CEO of CBRE Global Investors. Matt Khourie, who has led CBRE GI for the past six years, is returning to CBRE subsidiary Trammell Crow Co. as its CEO.

Ferguson has served on GI’s global investment committee since 2011 and as its CIO since last year. He’ll also remain CEO of CBRE Clarion Securities, the company’s real estate securities business.

Before joining CBRE GI, Ferguson was on the global management committee of ING Real Estate Investment Management. He was one of the founding principals who formed the predecessor entity to CBRE Clarion Securities.

Bob Sulentic, CBRE’s president and CEO, says Ferguson is “the ideal successor for Matt” at GI. “He has outstanding investment acumen, experience running global strategies and producing great outcomes for our clients, as well as a deep understanding of the Global Investors business, including leading firm-wide investment strategy and execution as CIO.”

Khourie was a senior leader at TCC for 29 years—a time frame that overlapped with its acquisition by CBRE—before moving over to GI in 2009. “Matt has made many vital contributions to Global Investors during his tenure as CEO, including delivering strong investment performance for its clients and expanding its footprint,” Sulentic says. “He is particularly well-suited to lead our Trammell Crow Co. business. He is returning to a business where he enjoys tremendous relationships, having been an extremely successful executive at the firm for many years.”

TCC’s CEO since 2011, Danny Queenan, who was also named COO of CBRE GI this past August, will now focus on running CBRE GI’s operations and strategic initiatives. Although he’ll no longer have a day-to-day role in TCC, he will remain active in this business at a strategic level, serving on its board of directors.

-Paul Bubny

Victory Studios Sells for $15.4M

CoStar.com

 

LLJ Ventures and Cowley Real Estate Partners acquired the Victory Studios at 1840 Victory Blvd. in Glendale, CA from two trusts for $15.38 million, or approximately $272 per square foot.

Built in 1969, the property is located on the northwest corner of Irving Ave. in Los Angeles County. Victory Studios is a state-of the-art television production and broadcast center that is fully occupied by Telepictures Productions, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. Telepictures has been at this location since 1994.

Andrew Berk and Mark Evanoff of Avison Young represented the seller. The buyer handled the sale in-house.

-Keith Dornin

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