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Equity Office Daily Brief: November 15, 2016

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Daily Brief

November 15, 2016

  EquilityOffice

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Chinese app maker comes to Santa Monica in a bid to build a live-streaming empire

Los Angeles Times

 

A Chinese live-video app trying to gain a foothold in the U.S. plans to invest in original programming to inspire creativity and interest among users. Live.me already has made a mark since launching in April. It’s one of the 10 most popular...

 


Development Watch

Los Angeles Downtown News

 

The local real estate development scene is speeding along, with more than 100 projects either under construction or in the planning stage. In Development Watch, Los Angeles Downtown News runs down the latest proposals, from projects with a few units to...

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

Will L.A. Investment Stay Strong in 2017?

GlobeSt.com

 

In the first half of 2016, the Los Angeles market saw $10.4 billion in real estate transactions, a 17% increase from the first half of 2015, according to a new capital markets report from CBRE. This is the strongest increase the...

 


What Drives Office Leasing in Emerging Markets?

GlobeSt.com

 

Creative office space is springing up in markets all over Los Angeles. In many of these emerging markets, which includes Culver City, Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, creative spaces are offered at a discount to West L.A. pricing, but price isn’t...

 


Hollywood Property Trades as Redevelopment Opportunity in $8 Mil Deal

RENTV.com

 

A private investor paid nearly $8 mil for a ½-acre potential redevelopment site in the heart of Hollywood. The property, located at 7001 Santa Monica Blvd, is currently occupied by a 5.4k sf Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. The site is surrounded by several...

 

FULL TEXT


Chinese app maker comes to Santa Monica in a bid to build a live-streaming empire

Los Angeles Times

 

A Chinese live-video app trying to gain a foothold in the U.S. plans to invest in original programming to inspire creativity and interest among users.

Live.me already has made a mark since launching in April. It’s one of the 10 most popular social media apps in the U.S. and one of the 100 most downloaded mobile apps, according to research firm AppAnnie.

Now, from a base in Santa Monica, Live.me wants to help reshape what it means to go live from a smartphone. The goal is to bring viewers into locations beyond bedrooms and studios.

“We don’t want to be just talking heads, people sitting in their rooms and vlogging,” said Khudor Annous, head of partnerships and marketing at Live.me. “I see an opportunity to really produce unique programming, so we’re spending a lot of time with the content community to identify investment opportunities.”

Shows and other productions could come about through direct partnerships with celebrities. For example, YouTube star Connor Franta debuted a weekly show on Live.me Saturday. And fellow online personality Roman Atwood has taken to Live.me too.

But new content also could grow out of co-financing deals with production companies, said Annous, previously vice president of integrated marketing at online video company Fullscreen.

“It’s such a new landscape,” he said. “We’re willing to invest, take some bets and see what resonates with the community.”

Live.me is a product of Cheetah Mobile, a 5-year-old Beijing company known for ad-supported apps aimed at reducing battery drain and clearing memory. It’s begun branching into entertainment apps with games, news and most recently Live.me, which a small team within the company successfully championed to their bosses a year ago.

But China is flooded with social broadcasting apps, so Cheetah turned West. There are competitors here too, but Annous says the company has a big advantage in the U.S. Its 635 million monthly users across its portfolio, 2,000 employees — including more than 200 in California — and track record are mostly unmatched by start-ups.

Cheetah Mobile trades publicly on the New York Stock Exchange, giving it additional credibility with partners and flexibility to make acquisitions. Though the share price has been cut in half over the last year to about $9.70, the company remains a $1-billion enterprise.

Pouring money into content and entertainment apps swung Cheetah Mobile to a loss in the second quarter. The hope is that Live.me pays off as it grows. The app and broadcasters generate revenue when viewers purchase virtual gifts. The top users are earning a sum that’s in the five figures each week, Annous said. The majority of those top users weren’t previously popular on other social media apps, he estimated.

The results show that some people — mostly teenagers — are willing to commit large chunks of time to binge on live and scheduled content. In Annous’ words, people don’t “cut the cord” because they want to get away from what’s on TV. They just want a different way to access and pay for the programming. Live.me is emerging as one alternative, but Facebook, Snapchat and other services hold similar ambitions.

Marketing software company trying to help others re-create Uber’s success gets $2 million

Venice start-up Markett Inc. has raised about $2 million from 13 seed and angel investors, according to a regulatory filing.

Chief Executive Franky Bernstein declined to comment. But in an August blog post, business incubator Amplify.LA described Markett as an online service for companies to recruit people willing to promote products in exchange for cash.

It’s not a traditional influencer marketing tool that relies on celebrities though. Amplify said Markett would help companies quickly roll out  user recruitment programs with sign-up discounts, similar to the initiatives that fueled the fast expansions of Bernstein’s former employers Uber and Lyft.

“What makes Markett stand out is that it is run by an all-star founding team that played a key role in driving Uber’s highly successful growth operation,” Amplify wrote.

Oracle reportedly expanding in Santa Monica with record purchase

Silicon Valley software giant Oracle purchased a 316,000-square-foot building in Santa Monica, according to the Real Deal, in the most expensive per-square-foot deal ever in the city’s office market.

Jones Lang LaSalle broker Carl Muhlstein, who represented the seller, confirmed the deal was completed last week, but declined to comment on terms.

The real estate publication reported that Oracle plans to occupy about a third of the space, with much of the rest currently leased to production company Lionsgate. Oracle also will hold onto its large office in the nearby Water Garden complex.

The $368-million transaction with investment firm Invesco amounts to $1,165 per square foot.

Oracle declined to comment on its plans for the building. The company, which has several offices across Los Angeles, is in stiff competition with most of the country’s other major tech players as they race to provide business software and computing infrastructure to corporations.

Elsewhere on the Web

Chinese company DJI is expected to unveil a new Inspire model drone at an event in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to TechCrunch.

3-D imaging company Pinscreen, founded by a group born out of USC, used the election to experiment with its technology, according to TechCrunch.

In case you missed it

Despite their near-united opposition to Donald Trump’s candidacy, tech industry leaders now more than ever must take a proactive role in engaging with government, tech policy experts said.

Trump's shocking victory could squeeze the tech industry on immigration and trade.

Research scientists at Google’s DeepMind unit are developing a computer program that reads data about Blizzard Entertainment’s “StarCraft II” games and learns how to play on its own. 

Spectacles sunglasses, like Snapchat itself, stem from a Stanford University project. The new product had a big but quirky debut. 

Snapchat users now have more reasons to make goofy faces while taking selfies, thanks to the app’s latest update.

Coming up

Techweek began hosting a week of events tied to the Los Angeles tech community Monday. Discussion topics include women in tech, membership-based business models and the music industry.

UCLA’s business school hosts a conference Friday on how businesses are introducing more sophisticated data analysis into their decision-making process. Speakers include the former head of economic research at Uber and the current head of global virtual and augmented reality strategy at Google.

-paresh.dave@latimes.com

Development Watch

Los Angeles Downtown News

 

The local real estate development scene is speeding along, with more than 100 projects either under construction or in the planning stage. In Development Watch, Los Angeles Downtown News runs down the latest proposals, from projects with a few units to mega-deals with a billion-dollar budget.

A Jewel of a Project: Although the Historic Core and South Park have seen the vast majority of Downtown adaptive reuse projects, where old buildings are renovated and often become housing, the Jewelry District has largely been overlooked. Now, plans are afoot for a transformation of the Foreman and Clark Building. Vancouver-based developer Bonnis Properties is looking to upgrade the currently vacant structure at 701 S. Hill St. Plans call for turning the 1928 Art Deco edifice into 124 one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 470-1,075 square feet. According to Kate Bartolo, a land-use consultant working with Bonnis, there would also be 8,527 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and 727 square feet on the mezzanine. The site has been the subject of numerous reported developments in the past, including a hotel, though all faltered. Los Angeles-based OKB Architecture is handling current designs; plans call for keeping the stone lobby and adding a gym, lounges and a media room. No on-site parking is planned. The timeline and budget have not been revealed.

The Continuum of Development: Developer Continuum Partners is expanding into the eastern part Downtown Los Angeles, with plans for a five-story creative office complex near the Los Angeles River. The Denver-based developer recently filed plans with the city for the project at 640 S. Santa Fe Ave., just south of the Sixth Street Viaduct. The site currently holds a cold storage facility and warehouse that would be razed. The new structure would have 105,000 square feet of office space along with ground-floor retail and a restaurant. The lot is surrounded by industrial buildings, though it is a short walk from the restaurants and stores along Mateo and Seventh streets. The budget and timeline have not been revealed. The news was first reported on the website Urbanize.la.

Park-side Project: Developer S&R Partners is teaming up with Lincoln Properties to develop eight acres next to Los Angeles State Historic Park, where a $20 million renovation is scheduled to be complete in January. According to plans filed with the city, the project would create seven buildings ranging from five to 14 stories along a narrow strip of land between Broadway and the park, starting just above the Capitol Milling Building at 1231 N. Spring St. The site would hold a whopping 920 apartments, along with 21,406 square feet of commercial space and three levels of above-grade parking. S&R Partners, run by the Riboli family that owns the San Antonio Winery, tried to develop housing near the park more than a decade ago, with plans to create 300 residential units in a project that would also revitalize the Capitol Milling Building. The firms Newman Garrison + Partners and Rios Clementi Hale Studios are working on designs for the current proposal. No budget or timeline have been revealed.

Chinatown Rising: Chinatown-based architecture firm Johnson Fain has been behind numerous Downtown projects, including the recently opened Blossom Plaza apartment complex at 900 N. Broadway. Next up on the firm’s roster is… its own headquarters. Johnson Fain last month filed plans with the city to build a seven-story residential project that would replace its home, a converted 1920s Chrysler dealership at 1201 N. Broadway. The new structure would hold 124 units, along with 8,691 square feet of commercial space. Johnson Fain partner Scott Johnson said that the residential activity happening in Chinatown makes this the right time to plan for the future. A budget for the project near the coming renovated Los Angeles State Historic Park has not been revealed, though Johnson said he expects construction to begin in 2018 or later. It has not been determined where the firm would relocate during construction, or whether the office would return to the site after the project is completed.

May the Force Be With Exposition Park: Mayor Eric Garcetti has long talked of his hope that George Lucas will build his Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park. Recently, designs for the project were revealed, though there’s a caveat: Designs were also revealed for the rival location in San Francisco’s Treasure Island. The museum would hold items from Lucas’ personal collection, including paintings, photographs, digital artwork and, yes, Star Wars gear. In addition to gallery space, the roughly 312,000-square-foot complex would house offices, classrooms, a library, a theater, lecture halls and a restaurant. Renderings from Beijing’s MAD architecture firm show a sleek, curving structure with green space both around the five-story museum and on top of parts of it. Lucas had planned to build the museum in Chicago, but that fell apart due to neighbor opposition. He has not announced when he will choose a home for the privately financed project.

-Nicholas Slayton

Will L.A. Investment Stay Strong in 2017?

GlobeSt.com

 

In the first half of 2016, the Los Angeles market saw $10.4 billion in real estate transactions, a 17% increase from the first half of 2015, according to a new capital markets report from CBRE. This is the strongest increase the L.A. market has seen in three years. To find out about the investment trends this year, what to expect in the second half of 2016, and where we are headed for 2017, I sat down with Maximilian Saia, senior research analyst, and George Entis, capital markets research analyst at CBRE, for an exclusive interview. Here, we talk about the fundamentals of the market, investor returns, cap rates and the make-up of the investor pool.

GlobeSt.com: Why is L.A. an attractive market for investors?

Maximilian Saia: CBRE’s 2016 Americas Investor Intentions Survey found Los Angeles to be the most desirable metro in the Americas for investment. The performance of the local economy is one of the main drivers of investment activity in the region. The Los Angeles economy has a diverse employment base and job creation across most industries, with rising household incomes and one of the lowest unemployment rates since before 1990. Investors see long-term stability and less risk in the Los Angeles economy, with returns still well above long-run trends.

GlobeSt.com: Do you expect investment volume to continue this upward momentum through the end of 2017?

George Entis: Upward momentum is likely to cease but a large pullback in investment volume seems unlikely. There is still strong investment interest from foreign and domestic buyers across asset classes and a number of large assets are currently for sale. Commercial investment activity in L.A. bucked the national trend in 2016, and we believe the fundamentals that drove that divergence are still in place heading into 2017.

GlobeSt.com: How does L.A. compare with national trends in investment volume?

Maximilian Saia: Nationally, $188.5 billion in commercial property changed hands through the first half of this year, a decrease of 11.7% from last year. Over the same time period, investment activity in Los Angeles actually increased 13.9%, or $1.8 billion. Commercial vacancies have been edging down, pushing prices up and forcing investors to reach deeper for yields, bringing a growing share of capital flows to stronger performing CRE markets and assets that assuage investors of recession fears.

GlobeSt.com: Investment volume has increased, but the report also shows softening investor returns. What does this dynamic say about the L.A. market?

Entis: Investors are paying top dollar for exposure to the L.A. commercial real estate market. With pricing and cap rates at or near record levels, average returns are likely to be slightly diminished. In the long run commercial real estate has been an extremely well performing asset class and has many features that currently make it an appealing investment in such a low-yield environment.

GlobeSt.com: It was especially interesting to see that office is outperforming other sectors, even more than industrial and multifamily, which are typically hailed the “darlings” of CRE. Was this surprising to you as well? What is driving office investment in a market with a 14% vacancy rate?

Saia: Office usually holds a top spot in terms of investment volume primarily due to the size of the transactions. But simply put, for 2016, The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) had a lot to do with it. So far this year, QIA has teamed with Douglas Emmett to purchase $1,713,025 of office product from Equity Office. That alone accounts for 21.2% of the transaction volume for office properties in L.A. this year. More broadly, investors realize that even in a market with 14% vacancy they can charge premium rents for creative office product with extremely strong demand from tenants at this time.

GlobeSt.com: Tell me about the investor make-up and how it has changed. There is clearly a strong foreign investment presence here. How does that compare to domestic investors?

Entis: In 2016 through the third quarter, private domestic buyers are the leaders in the current market, capturing a growing share for the third year in a row and accounting for almost half of all investment. Investment from cross-border capital sources has also been trending up, grabbing an 18.5% market share year to date. This is the highest proportion of foreign to domestic capital on record, notably higher than the U.S. share of foreign capital, and is expected to grow further as a lot of global liquidity finds its way to the U.S. Meanwhile, institutional investors have had a less pronounced presence over the past few years.

GlobeSt.com: Cap rates are so low. Do you expect that they will continue to compress, or have they bottomed out?

George Entis: Cap rates can still go lower, but not much lower. It’s true that we are at or near historically low cap rates for most assets but risk spreads are still favorable and commercial real estate remains a very in demand asset class. Expect some continued decline in the short term before cap rates level off.

-Kelsi Maree Borland

What Drives Office Leasing in Emerging Markets?

GlobeSt.com

 

Creative office space is springing up in markets all over Los Angeles. In many of these emerging markets, which includes Culver City, Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, creative spaces are offered at a discount to West L.A. pricing, but price isn’t the only way to drive occupancy in these markets. Landlords are also driving leasing through tenant improvements and by establishing a high-quality tenants roster, according to Tim Lee, VP of corporate development and legal affairs at the Olive Hill Group.

The Olive Hill Group recently signed a new lease at one of the firm’s office campuses in Culver City. Market research and consulting firm Ipsos signed the lease for half of the 5th floor, bringing the occupancy to 92%. “Our goal was to bring in tenants that were looking for creative office and that were looking for more of a campus feel,” Lee tells GlobeSt.com. “We were also targeting companies that were looking for more value for their money, and that would want to do a creative space build out from scratch. Those elements have been a big part of our strategy.”

Culver City is attracting tenants with rents that average $3 per square foot, as opposed to the $6 per square foot that one might pay in Santa Monica. This is driving many tech and creative companies to the market. “We think that Culver City is well positioned to turn into the next creative hub on the Westside,” adds Lee. “It is still a great value for companies coming from other markets. Creative space looks the same whether it is in Venice or Downtown L.A., so it is becoming less important about where the space is located and more about the space build out itself.”

Creating a quality tenant mix is an important key not to overlook. On Ispos’ lease, Olive Hill provided “generous tenant improvements,” as an incentive for the deal, but in looking to cultivate the right mix, there were also tenants that they turned down for the opening. “I think it is important to gain critical mass,” says Lee about finding the right tenant. “Strong financials are important, but we also wanted tenants that represented the tenant mix that we wanted, which is creative, professional tenants. We wanted someone that is a little more hip staff. Our long-term vision for the space is a more creative build out, and we are seeing a lot of interest. We had a number of offers for the space, and we had to really think about the kind of tenant that we want in here.”

This is a similar strategy that Olive Hill uses in other markets as well, including Downtown Los Angeles.  “We are using a very similar strategy across out portfolio, but we are also recognizing  that the future of the millennial workforce is changing,” adds Lee.

-Kelsi Maree Borland

Hollywood Property Trades as Redevelopment Opportunity in $8 Mil Deal

RENTV.com

 

A private investor paid nearly $8 mil for a ½-acre potential redevelopment site in the heart of Hollywood. The property, located at 7001 Santa Monica Blvd, is currently occupied by a 5.4k sf Shakey’s Pizza Parlor.

The site is surrounded by several high-density mixed-use developments, including numerous national retail tenants that are within walking distance. Shakey’s has operated at this location for more than 40 years. Alex Kozakov, Patrick Wade and Fred Aframian with CBRE represented the buyer and the sellers, a private family trust. “Hollywood has benefitted from a major revitalization over the past five years,” said Kozakov. “The property benefits from an urban infill location that is among the most densely populated trade areas in all of Southern California. This site has tremendous redevelopment potential down the road.” The renaissance of Hollywood over the last several years has contributed positively to the strong residential demand and an expanding office market, increasing tourism, and the unmatched level of redevelopment across all sectors. Over the past 10 years, 67.1 percent of the office construction in Los Angeles County has occurred in Hollywood and Playa Vista, according to the latest CBRE research. Between 2006 and 2016, 758.6k sf of new offices were completed in Hollywood, 21.7 percent of the LA County total. The new spaces are catering particularly to the multitude of entertainment industry-related tenants, such as major movie studios and post-production companies.

-Staff

Daily Brief November 15, 2016 unsubscribe

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