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Equity Office Daily Brief: May 16, 2016

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Daily Brief

May 16, 2016

  EquilityOffice

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Facebook's new L.A. digs have frozen yogurt, yoga and no privacy

Los Angeles Times

 

With its proximity to creative agencies and celebrities, Los Angeles has emerged as a key market for Facebook’s advertising business and pop culture cachet. But space was tight in its Playa Vista offices. When R&B star Miguel visited recently to stream video...

 


Construction Begins for Santa Monica Gateway Office Project

Real Estate Business Magazine

 

SANTA MONICA, CALIF. — Construction has commenced on Santa Monica Gateway, a 200,000-square-foot creative office campus in Santa Monica. The project will be located at 2834 Colorado Ave. The property offers 10,600- to 36,000-square-foot floor plates in a two-building, four-story campus...

 


Snapchat's SMO Move Approved

Santa Monica Mirror

 

The familiar ghost, to anyone under the age of 21, is one of the world’s hottest tech brands, and it’s been given the go-ahead to call Santa Monica Airport home. The approximately $3 million-a-year lease was approved by Santa Monica City Council...

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

Sensors, Data And Learning Are The Future Of Real Estate

Bisnow

 

The Internet of Things has been promised for a long time. People have predicted household or office appliances would dynamically react to user tastes and preferences since the time Microsoft was the hottest thing in tech. Nearly two decades on, progress...

 


Expansion Planned for Westside Office Complex

Urbanize LA

 

McCarthy Cook & Company (MCC), a real estate firm with operations in California and Arizona, has filed plans for the refurbishment and expansion of the Trident Center in West Los Angeles. According to a case filing from the Department of City Planning,...

 


Is Technology Finally Revolutionizing CRE?

GlobeSt.com

 

A new company may finally bring the tech revolution to the commercial real estate world. Former Auction.com VP Michael DeGiorgio has launched CREXi, a self-described “marketplace for buyers, sellers and brokers built to simplify real estate from list to close.” In...

 


The First CRE Telecom Company Is Here

GlobeSt.com

 

Rising Realty has launched 5×5 Telecom, a fiber-optic Internet and VoIP phone company that aims to solve the connectivity problems of office tenants and drive occupancy and rents in the process, GlobeSt.com has learned exclusively. As a real estate company, Rising...

 


Office/Industrial Project Gets Underway in Valencia

RENTV.com

 

AEW Capital Management L.P. and Sheridan Ebbert Development just broke ground on a new industrial/office project covering 13 acres in Valencia. We’re told the development is part of the largest master-planned industrial project and center for business technology and industry in...

 


Manufacturers Life Set To Spin Off 3 Prime U.S. Office Assets

CoStar.com

 

Canada's Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. filed final paperwork in Singapore for an initial public offer of a real estate investment trust backed by three U.S. office properties. The REIT could begin trading by the end of this week. Manulife US Real Estate...

 

FULL TEXT


Facebook's new L.A. digs have frozen yogurt, yoga and no privacy

Los Angeles Times

 

With its proximity to creative agencies and celebrities, Los Angeles has emerged as a key market for Facebook’s advertising business and pop culture cachet.

But space was tight in its Playa Vista offices. When R&B star Miguel visited recently to stream video on Facebook Live, there was nowhere else to do it but in the communal kitchen.

“We had outgrown our space,” said Sibyl Goldman, Facebook’s head of entertainment partnerships.

On Monday, the social media giant will move into a refurbished office minutes away from its old one at the so-called Campus development.

The new Playa Vista location, which the company calls Facebook LA, is three times as big at 35,000 square feet, and with room for 200 employees, it accommodates twice the workforce.

The office offers two studio spaces — separated by a green room — designed for live streaming and 360-degree video. That will allow Facebook to work more closely with Southern California celebrities, brands and networks who want to seize on the company’s heavy emphasis on video, particularly Facebook Live.

“It’s so important to us to have a big presence here to facilitate the local community,” said Blake Beers, automotive lead for Facebook, who co-runs the L.A. office with Goldman.

Facebook, which is headquartered in Menlo Park, has maintained offices in L.A. for 10 years. Before moving to Playa Vista in 2011, staff members were located in a former Ray and Charles Eames property on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

Since then, Playa Vista has developed into one of Southern California’s premier tech hubs, with the likes of YouTube, Yahoo and Google commanding large footprints in the master-planned neighborhood just north of Los Angeles International Airport.

See more of our top stories on Facebook >>

Tech and media companies, including Fox and Electronic Arts, have so flooded the area that no parcels of land remain for additional commercial development, said real estate broker Carl Muhlstein of JLL.

“The whole market has a no-vacancy sign,” he said.   

Facebook’s new digs are part of an office campus called Playa Jefferson — located across the street from the $260-million retail, housing and office complex called the Runway, which is anchored by a Whole Foods market.

Playa Jefferson, built on former farmland, used to be a nondescript collection of concrete office buildings. Previous tenants include Citibank, which housed a research and development team there that came up with the first ATM machine.

In 2011, the complex was sold to Vantage Property Investors for $35 million. Working with L.A. architecture firm Gensler (designers of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and JW Marriott at L.A. Live and the 128-story Shanghai Tower), the new owners spruced the property up with bright colors, built open communal spaces and invited food trucks to park curbside during lunch.

Facebook declined to say how long its lease is at Playa Jefferson. The company also declined to say how much it pays in rent, though Muhlstein of JLL said market rates for commercial property in the area are going for about $4.50 a square foot per month. That would put Facebook’s rent at over $150,000 a month.

Gensler helped Facebook design its interiors, a whimsical two-story space brightened by colorful murals and posters that echo the company’s best-known mottos (“Move Fast And Break Things” and “Fail Harder”).

In addition to Goldman’s entertainment partnerships and Beers’ automotive unit, the office will house marketing teams and members of Oculus and Instagram. There’s also a room designated for virtual reality demonstrations.

Employees were polled about what kinds of services they wanted at the new site. They chose yoga. That is in addition to standard tech company perks like the free, full-service kitchen equipped with waffle irons and a frozen yogurt machine.

On the first Monday of the month, the office will host an “all hands” meeting — sort of like a happy hour for the L.A. staff to socialize and meet new employees. Birthdays are also a big deal. A badminton tournament was once organized in honor of a celebrant who had been an accomplished player in school.  

There are no private offices, just conference rooms with names such as “In-N-Out” and “Straight Outta Playa Vista” — lest anyone forget they’re not in Menlo Park. To encourage collaboration, Facebook opts for open floor plans and adjoined desks. That means Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg or Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg must pull up any one of the dozens of gray Aeron chairs that dot the main workspace should they visit and want to work.

“We open doors,” Beers said. “We don’t build a hierarchical structure.”

But what if someone doesn’t want to be disturbed?

“There’s always the universal symbol for ‘I want to be left alone,’ ” Beers said. “Headphones.”

-David Pierson

Construction Begins for Santa Monica Gateway Office Project

Real Estate Business Magazine

 

SANTA MONICA, CALIF. — Construction has commenced on Santa Monica Gateway, a 200,000-square-foot creative office campus in Santa Monica. The project will be located at 2834 Colorado Ave. The property offers 10,600- to 36,000-square-foot floor plates in a two-building, four-story campus with a three-level subterranean garage. The campus will be ready for occupancy in late 2017. DRDS and Gruen Associates are designing the project. JLL’s Carl Muhlstein and Tom Cherry are leading the leasing efforts. The firm is also handling project and development management. - See more at: http://rebusinessonline.com/construction-begins-for-santa-monica-gateway-office-project/#sthash.m94rrgdK.dpuf

-Staff

Snapchat's SMO Move Approved

Santa Monica Mirror

 

The familiar ghost, to anyone under the age of 21, is one of the world’s hottest tech brands, and it’s been given the go-ahead to call Santa Monica Airport home.

The approximately $3 million-a-year lease was approved by Santa Monica City Council Tuesday night at a regular City Council Meeting.

In line with the recently-adopted Santa Monica Airport (SMO) Leasing Policy, the City is moving forward with leasing City-owned properties, including those that were formerly the subject of subleases, the City said.

Snapchat is set to take two office buildings located at 2772 and 2800 Donald Douglas Loop North, as well as eight hangars. The combined square footage of the office buildings is 70,473; the eight hangars total 8,900 square feet. The base rent at full occupancy begins at $3.07 per square foot and includes an annual escalator of 3 percent.

Residents surrounding SMO are welcoming their new neighbor, hoping that it’s an indication of more high-quality tenants to come.

“Snapchat is a no brainer good thing and clearly shows there are quality companies wanting to lease space directly from the city at market rates,” said resident and ‘No-Jets Santa Monica Airport’ campaigner Alan Levenson.

Snapchat is an image messaging and multimedia mobile app. with over 100 million users a day, according to recode.net. The app racks up more than 8 billion video views per day.

“Securing this major tenant helps ensure the Airport Fund’s financial self- sufficiency and allow it to repay its $13M debt obligation to the City,” the City stated.

The proposed lease agreement between the City and Snapchat is for a period of five years, with an option for an additional five year period, according to the City.

A commission of $804,834 based on 5 percent of the value of the total five-year lease term, would be due to Corporate Realty Group (CRG) for the proposed lease agreement should the lease be executed on July 1. The commission would exceed the funding currently authorized in CRG’s agreement with the City. The anticipated commissions through June 30, 2018 would be in an amount not-to-exceed $1,104,834.

At full occupancy, the rent shall be $3.07 per square foot, and includes a 3 percent annual escalation provision. Annual rent paid by Snapchat to the City will be approximately between $2.9 million and $3.2 million, depending on the year.

The proposed rent reflects a market price.

Snapchat has agreed to spend at least $1.4 million in tenant improvements in the two buildings. Any improvements undertaken by Snapchat will revert to the City at the conclusion of the lease term. If Snapchat installs the required tenant improvements, the City will provide a rent credit equal to five months of rent.

“SMO is a very desirable location with the views and open space. It will be no problem repurposing and leasing existing space to companies compatible with the neighborhood as specified in the airport leasing policy and the terms of measure LC,” Levenson added.

-Jennifer Eden

Sensors, Data And Learning Are The Future Of Real Estate

Bisnow

 

The Internet of Things has been promised for a long time. People have predicted household or office appliances would dynamically react to user tastes and preferences since the time Microsoft was the hottest thing in tech. Nearly two decades on, progress seems slow, if not stalled. What held back the revolution? Experts at Bisnow's Future of Real Estate event said a lack of standards was a key stumbling block. But they said progress will be made, even if it takes many years.

Allsteel’s David Madrid (right, with Alicia Lemler) began the conversation by imagining a future where real estate and facilities management are purely a question of harvesting and acting on data. In this world, room booking, HVAC activation and a host of other tedious processes will be automatic and make the user experience a pleasant one. He offered his thoughts on why this hasn’t happened yet. It's a function of cost, David said. Sensors were much more expensive and data was painfully unstructured, making the smart in smart office all but impossible. David ended his comments by asserting 100% social space was purely a fad. He rhetorically asked the audience what anyone can possibly get done in the presence of distraction. Instead the answer lies between the cubical and the open office in a more modular workspace with balance between total isolation and interaction.

UniKey provides the technology behind many of today’s leading digital lock and access companies. VP Lee Odess (above left, with moderator Jeff Brink) told the audience the Internet of Things needs definition. In access control, The Jetsons future isn’t quite here because there are no common standards. Progress, however, has been made. Perhaps in the next few years, you will be able to communicate your tastes and preferences through your connected devices and the building will adjust accordingly. Hotels and other commercial buildings will lead the pack. Lee predicted it will be a year or two before you can leave your keys behind.

ESD senior associate James Gronek (left, with John Assunto) approaches design from the end-user perspective and new technologies have the potential to make life comfortable. He said many of the systems currently in the market have some “smart” technology embedded in them. The key is for different product makers to share data and ensure devices can talk to each other. Only then can the user experience match the promises.

Building Robotics president Lindsay Baker also believes in approaching the future from the user first rather than obsessing over the building. A future she envisions consists of a dynamic building that responds to a person’s needs. The challenge is appreciated by tech clients like Google, but others still scratch their heads, she said. Clean and reliable integration will make the task much easier in realizing the potential of the future of real estate.-Staff

Expansion Planned for Westside Office Complex

Urbanize LA

 

McCarthy Cook & Company (MCC), a real estate firm with operations in California and Arizona, has filed plans for the refurbishment and expansion of the Trident Center in West Los Angeles.

According to a case filing from the Department of City Planning, MCC is planning to add 120,000 square feet of new office space to the mid-rise complex at 11355 W. Olympic Boulevard.  The exact location and form of the expansion is unclear, although it could come at the expense of a parking garage and amenity deck located on the north side of the 3.6-acre property.

The proposed improvements also include a full interior and exterior modernization of the Trident Center's existing towers, as well as a reorganization of their ground-floor to include a 5,000-square-foot restaurant.  The twin 10-story buildings, built in 1983, feature a combined 383,000 square feet of office space.

Construction of the project would be contingent on a series of discretionary approvals, including a general plan amendment and a height district change.  A timeline has not been announced.

The property is located along the Olympic Corridor, which currently boasts the lowest office vacancy rate on the Westside.  As of now, the proposed Trident Center expansion is one of two substantial developments planned for the neighborhood, following a roughly 200,000-square-foot building slated for the current home of Martin Cadillac.

-Steven Sharp

Is Technology Finally Revolutionizing CRE?

GlobeSt.com

 

A new company may finally bring the tech revolution to the commercial real estate world. Former Auction.com VP Michael DeGiorgio has launched CREXi, a self-described “marketplace for buyers, sellers and brokers built to simplify real estate from list to close.” In essence, the platform is streamlining the ancillary work of brokers—from putting out calls for offers to analytics and reporting—to free up more time for to get and close deals. The effect of this product could ultimately boost real estate volumes, and brokers are already sold. In the five months since the platform launched, CREXi already has 1,000 users—with 75 more signing up each day—has 800 properties listed through the site, a total $4 billion value, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Freestyle Capital, TenOneTen Ventures, Founder Collective, Karlin Ventures have all contributed capital to find the venture. To find out more about the product, how it is changing the market and where it is headed, we sat down with DeGiorgio, the firm’s CEO, for an exclusive interview. GlobeSt.com: Tell me about the CREXi platform and what you are offering?

Michael DeGiorgio: We are creating a platform that is bringing real time transparency to the industry. I am sure those are buzzwords that people throw around a lot, but we are really looking at how a broker manages and controls the deal process. We set up a customizable transaction environment, where the broker picks how he wants to transact, whether that is setting up a call for offers, best and finals or how buyers underwrite their due diligence. The program takes offers through us, and it does all of the analytics and reporting. It really does all of the donkeywork that brokers still do manually through outlook or Excel, and creates modern-age technology around it. The Loop Nets and Co Stars of the world are kind of just a complicated excel sheet, and we made more intuitive tools that are user friendly and speed up your day-to-day life.

GlobeSt.com: What is the problem that you see in the industry that you are trying to solve?

DeGiorgio: Loop Net Costar and RCM were all built in the 90s, and you could argue that isn’t even technology but just data that has been aggregated over the course of time that they sell back to brokers. We are really trying to solve how people do reporting and analytics and how people take in offers and how people close deals and track the closings of their deals. It is all stuff that has been done on paper and through Excel files, and there has been a lot of ways out there to organize that information but there really hasn’t been a solution for it. I saw enough deals get transact that I was starting to think about ways to make their life easier and make the game simpler.

GlobeSt.com: How are you streamlining the deal process for brokers and helping to increase deal volume?

DeGiorgio: The goal is to make brokers more efficient and better at what they do. It is a tool that will alter how brokers sell deals, and maybe the teams won’t be as big and they won’t need as many analysts. It is really going to allow brokers to earn new listings and convince people that they are the best person to list a property and convincing buyers to buy a property. Everything else, like tracking closings, how you disseminate 10-year due diligence materials to buyers, how you take offers in, how you report back offers to owners, how to report marketing traction to a seller, this platform handles. It is all of the stuff brokers have to do that doesn’t get deals done. We want to let brokers focus on selling properties. We are trying to create a very functional stock exchange for commercial real estate and trying to add liquidity to the marketplace. That might mean that the better brokers and do more listing and some of the less experienced brokers get phased out, but a good broker will always add value to the process.

GlobeSt.com: It is interesting that this is a true hybrid company between technology and commercial real estate. Do you have a real estate or tech background?

DeGiorgio: I have a commercial real estate background, and it is not a traditional one, which has helped. I worked at Auction.com and I helped start their commercial real estate division. It allowed me to see transactions that sell quickly and work with other brokerage shops in the country and the biggest REITs in the country all the way down to mom-and-pops. I got to see a very interesting perspective. I got to see high level, every asset type and work with every brokerage shop in the country, and that ultimately showed me how broad the industry is. My technical co-founder has started eight different companies and is a serial entrepreneur. He sold his last company to Apple, and he developed the technology for TestLife. I have people from Auction.com that work for me here, but we are 80% tech focused and 20% made up of guys who work on the real estate side.

GlobeSt.com: You launched the company at the beginning of the year, and you have seen tremendous success. Has the ardent response from the community surprised you?

DeGiorgio: It has been really flattering and humbling. The market is in desperate need for something like this. It has been doing better that I could have ever imagined, and the last 20 people that I have spoken with now use us for all of their listings and it is just a no brainer for everyone. The biggest fear is that we are going to sell this to someone and stop evolving and stop creating. We are working with the top brokers at CBRE, Cushman, Colliers and Newmark—every brokerage shop in the country is starting to use us and we just launched 5 months ago. It is hard to keep up with it all.

GlobeSt.com: What are your goals for the company in its first year?

DeGiorgio: Our original goal was to put $1 billion on the site, but we have already put $2 billion on the site. The numbers are way bigger that we imagined. At the end of this month, we should be close to $8 billion, and by the way that the numbers are improving every month, it is really hard to say. I would love to get some huge number on the site. Ultimately, we can definitely really dominate in the $1 million to $100-million deal size. About $300 billion is transacted in the deal space every year, and we feel like we can really hone in on that space.

-Kelsi Maree Borland

The First CRE Telecom Company Is Here

GlobeSt.com

 

Rising Realty has launched 5×5 Telecom, a fiber-optic Internet and VoIP phone company that aims to solve the connectivity problems of office tenants and drive occupancy and rents in the process, GlobeSt.com has learned exclusively. As a real estate company, Rising Realty was uniquely positioned to understand and solve the connectivity needs of its tenants, and launched the company to bring fast installation and low-price network services without sacrificing speed and reliability. The result has helped to drive rents and occupancy in their buildings, and now, it is available to other property owners.

“This was founded from real estate owners that recognized a problem in the marketplace. Everyone is a tech tenant today, and everything is in the cloud,” Marc Gittleman, the CEO of 5×5 Telecom, tells GlobeSt.com. “We recognized that the big problems that tenants had were price and installation time. We realized that we could lower the cost of internet substantially, and we engineered a system that allowed us to turn on a customer in the same day.”

The same service from a standard Internet provider, like AT&T, would take somewhere between 45 and 90 days to install, according to Gittleman, and cost three times the price. For example, a 100MB circuit service at AT&T costs $1,700 per month, while the same service through 5×5 Telecom would cost tenants $550. That is an annual savings of more than $12,000 per year. “I don’t care who you are, but saving $12,000 per year in one line item is a meaningful number,” says Gittleman, adding that this helps to drive value for both owners and tenants. “As a real estate owner, our goal is to drive rent and occupancy. If we are saving someone $1,000 per month, the space is worth some percentage of that.” Even better for tenants, 5×5 is able to amplify the service to all common areas, so employees can work on their company’s secured Internet system, not just through WiFi, anywhere on the campus. As a result, the “office” square footage increases, as does the environment, which can be anything from a quite office space to restaurants and coffee shops on the ground floor.

The idea to launch a telecom company sprouted during Rising Realty’s repositioning of the PacMutual Building in Downtown Los Angeles. The firm was trying to attract tech tenants, but was having terrible connectivity problems. Gittleman had the idea to start its own ISB and engineered it to solve all of the problems tenants were having. “We had a very high incentive to have it work right because we were in the same building,” says Gittleman.

With the success of the property, they expanded the service to other Rising properties, and now to other property owners. “We do this in all of our properties, and the uptick rate is incredible,” he explains. “At our buildings throughout Downtown L.A., we have the fastest Internet of any other building. Then, we asked how we could change the landscape of real estate in Los Angeles, because rising rents are good for everyone, and if I can drive rent at a bunch of buildings, that is good for my investments. So, we wanted other owners to be able to take advantage of this as well.” 800 Wilshire recently signed up for the service, and other landlords in Downtown Los Angeles are showing interest. 5×5 is also installing the service in four buildings in Long Beach, and customers there are already signing up.

“This is a paradigm shift in how you can drive value in your space, the types of tenants that you can attract and letting the customer of your real estate understand that as an ownership entity, you understand their needs and you are proactively trying to address them,” says Gittleman. “The historical view of technology in real estate is that it was the tenants’ issue, and they were left in this doldrums of lack of connectivity and lack of cooperation. We totally changed that.”

-Kelsi Maree Borland

Office/Industrial Project Gets Underway in Valencia

RENTV.com

 

AEW Capital Management L.P. and Sheridan Ebbert Development just broke ground on a new industrial/office project covering 13 acres in Valencia. We’re told the development is part of the largest master-planned industrial project and center for business technology and industry in Los Angeles County. The new development will contain three state-of-the-art industrial, offering dock-high loading, 28-feet clearance, upgraded ESFR fire sprinklers and 480/277 volt power. The Class A buildings will be offered for lease or sale. Building sizes will be 105k sf, 88.8k sf and 60.9k sf. Completion of the structures is expected to be in the first quarter 2017.

The ownership group, MCA Gateway V LLC, had purchased the four lots from Gateway V LLC in April of this year. CBRE’s Craig s and Doug Sonderegger represented both sides of this transaction and are now listing the to-be-constructed buildings.

The CBRE team previously had sold two adjacent lots on 11.89 acres last year to Logix Federal Credit Union and an additional five-acre lot to Hancock Parkway Properties, LLC.

“This site is close to the most important freeways in the county,” said s. “It allows easy access to all the major submarkets in the area, including the San Fernando Valley, Burbank Airport, Downtown Los Angeles, West Los Angeles and the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach.”

The Greater Los Angeles area industrial market has seen record low availability levels while demand is ever-increasing, likely pushing rents up 6 percent by year-end, according to CBRE’s first-quarter research report. The region is going to see some relief from supply constraints as more than 3.8 msf are currently under construction, with the South Bay and San Gabriel Valley accounting for the majority of the total.

-Staff

Manufacturers Life Set To Spin Off 3 Prime U.S. Office Assets

CoStar.com

 

Canada's Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. filed final paperwork in Singapore for an initial public offer of a real estate investment trust backed by three U.S. office properties. The REIT could begin trading by the end of this week.

Manulife US Real Estate Investment Trust is the first pure-play U.S. office REIT to be listed in Asia.

Manufacturers Life, Manulife’s parent company and sponsor of the REIT, shelved a similar IPO last summer due to poor market conditions for REIT shares. Investor interest in REIT shares began to cool last July over market expectations of the Federal Reserve raising U.S. interest rates. After that, Manulife, and several existing REITs, shelved their capital raising plans.

But then, REIT share prices began to recover in the fourth quarter. And in a further good omen, BHG Retail REIT, the only REIT IPO to make its market debut on the Singapore Exchange last year, saw its share price rise following its trading debut. The REIT, backed by five retail properties in China, was advised by DBS Group Holdings, Manulife’s adviser as well.

This go around Manufacturers Life expects raise gross proceeds of $519.2 million from the offering. The proceeds will be used to complete the purchase of its initial portfolio of properties for $777.45 million or about $432/square feet.

Manulife US REIT’s initial portfolio will include three Class A office properties totaling 1.8 million rentable square feet with an occupancy rate of 96.5% as of year-end 2015.

The portfolio will initially include the following properties.

The Michelson at 3161 Michelson Drive in Irvine, CA (Orange County), 19 stories, 533,581 square feet, valued at $324 million; 515 S. Figueroa St. in Los Angeles, 21 stories, 692,389 rentable square feet, valued at $296 million; and Peachtree at 1100 Peachtree St. NE in Atlanta, 27 stories, 553,778 rentable square feet, valued at $179 million.

The three properties are currently owned by affiliates of John Hancock Life Insurance Co., which Manulife acquired in 2004.

In its attempt last summer to launch the REIT Manufacturers Life had included Manulife’s office at 1850 M St. NW in Washington, DC, 12 stories, 243,635 square feet and had excluded Peachtree in Atlanta.

Manufacturers Life touted the three properties as being in submarkets with limited supply of office space and high barriers of entry for new office construction.

There is currently no office development under construction in the Airport Area of Orange County due to the lack of available land and high construction costs.

Downtown Los Angeles has had no new office and Class A construction in the past 10 and 23 years respectively and will not expect additional Class A supply until 2017. This is due to the lack of available land for new office development and high construction costs relative to acquisition costs.

With the residential boom that has taken over Midtown Atlanta, most of its developable parcels are being picked up by residential developers, leaving limited available land options for office development.

In its offering circular, Manufacturers Life also said Manulife US REIT offers a unique opportunity for Asian investors to benefit from the recovery of the world’s largest economy, which is outpacing the recovery in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. Investors view the U.S. market as a safe haven, investing a total of $146 billion in U.S. office properties last year.

Foreign investments into the U.S. commercial real estate sector have historically been primarily driven by Canadian investors, followed by European investors. However, over the last several years, Asian investors have also been taking an increasing interest in U.S. property investments, accounting for 34.1% of the total foreign investment into the U.S. commercial real estate sector last, and becoming the largest group of investors in U.S. CRE.

-Mark Heschmeyer

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