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Equity Office Daily Brief: February 13, 2017

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Daily Brief

February 13, 2017




Santa Monica seeks nation's most extensive earthquake retrofitting, covering 2,000 buildings

Los Angeles Times


Santa Monica is poised to require safety improvements to as many as 2,000 earthquake-vulnerable buildings in what would be the nation’s most extensive seismic retrofitting effort. Santa Monica’s safety rules would go beyond what Los Angeles has done by requiring not only...


California claims 13th best 'well-being' ranking among the 50 states

Orange County Register


California fell to 13th best in pollster Gallup’s annual ranking of the quality of life in each U.S. state. Gallup creates this curious livability benchmark through continuous polling of American adults to create its “Well-Being Index” based on five key traits. All...




Middle Market Digest: This Week in Southwest


From a new hotel in Phoenix to massive industrial properties in the Inland Empire, development projects throughout the Southwest haven’t stopped breaking ground. There were also loads of deals, data and new hires announced this week. Read on to see some...


Draftsmen & Craftsmen


McCormick Construction has completed the $2.7 mil renovation of LINQ, an 80k sf creative campus located adjacent to the Redondo Beach Metro station at 2400 Marine Ave in Redondo Beach. Owned by Montana Avenue Capital Partners, the newly renovated campus comprises...



Santa Monica seeks nation's most extensive earthquake retrofitting, covering 2,000 buildings

Los Angeles Times


Santa Monica is poised to require safety improvements to as many as 2,000 earthquake-vulnerable buildings in what would be the nation’s most extensive seismic retrofitting effort.

Santa Monica’s safety rules would go beyond what Los Angeles has done by requiring not only wood apartments and concrete buildings to be retrofitted, but also steel-frame structures.

Steel buildings were once considered by seismic experts to be among the safest. But after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, engineers were stunned to find that so-called “steel moment frame” buildings fractured.

About 25 were significantly damaged, said structural engineer Ronald Hamburger, senior principal with Simpson Gumpertz & Heger in San Francisco.

No steel building suffered a catastrophic failure that took lives in that earthquake, but some were so badly damaged they had to be demolished. One — the Automobile Club of Southern California building in Santa Clarita, open for just 21 months — came very close to collapse, Hamburger said.  

A year later, one story of a Japanese steel building collapsed during the 1995 Kobe earthquake.

Now, Santa Monica has decided to tackle what has been the third rail of seismic safety. It has been controversial because retrofit costs are significant, especially for tall skyscrapers, and because steel buildings are less likely to collapse than other types of vulnerable buildings.

Check if your building is on Santa Monica’s earthquake study list

Hover over the dots to see the address and the suspected type of building. Plug in a full address — such as 123 Spring Street, Santa Monica, CA — to zoom in on this map. Under a proposed law, structures listed would be required to undergo a seismic evaluation and a retrofit if necessary.

But the failure of even one high-rise could cause a large number of deaths.

The collapse of five high-rise steel buildings in Southern California was seen as possible during a future 7.8 earthquake on the San Andreas fault, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s simulation of such a disaster. If the earthquake hit during working hours, about 5,000 people could be inside those five buildings. 

Other building types fare worse — 50 brittle concrete buildings could collapse in the same temblor. 

“Like all of life, it’s a question of what risk we are willing to tolerate,” Hamburger said.

The mayor said he does not want Santa Monica to take that chance, as a major earthquake is inevitable for the city’s future.

Suspected quake-vulnerable buildings in downtown Santa Monica

“We are very committed here in Santa Monica to make sure that we are resilient in the face of possible catastrophe,” Mayor Ted Winterer said. “We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to protect our community.”

The mayor acknowledged that the price tag of retrofits would be a burden in the short term. City officials estimate a cost of $5,000 to $10,000 per unit to retrofit a typical wood apartment building and $50 to $100 per square foot for concrete and steel buildings.

That is a fraction of the price tag if an entire building were to collapse.

“But taking the long view — that process is much preferable to the loss of life and the destruction of buildings,” Winterer said.

The city’s move comes more than three years after The Times reported how Santa Monica quietly stopped enforcing its earthquake safety regulations. Santa Monica had actually passed laws in the 1990s requiring retrofits of these buildings. But the mandatory retrofit effort quietly faded in the early 2000s, amid the departure of key staff. By 2013, the city could not find its old list of possibly vulnerable buildings.ormer city officials were stunned when told of the missing list, and the city’s elected leaders vowed to take up the issue.

“‘There is no greater responsibility of government than public safety,’” Councilman Kevin McKeown said at a recent council meeting, quoting from a staff report. “But here, we have a case to preemptively prevent a lot of injury and damage.”

Santa Monica is at a particular risk of earthquakes. The Santa Monica fault runs through the northern half of the city. Santa Monica was also hard-hit by the Northridge quake, which badly damaged several landmark buildings, including the St. Monica Catholic Church, and caused the loss of 1,500 apartments, or about 5% of the city’s total stock. 

Santa Monica has released its list of possibly vulnerable buildings, the result of a three-year-long process to identify them. The City Council is scheduled to vote on a law Tuesday that would require owners to conduct a seismic evaluation and, if needed, order the buildings to be retrofitted.

Of the roughly 2,000 buildings, about 1,700 of them are suspected to be wooden apartment buildings with carports on the ground story and held up by flimsy columns that might snap in an earthquake. Known as soft-story buildings, one such complex collapsed in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, killing 16 people on the ground floor in the predawn darkness.

About 150 are suspected vulnerable brick buildings, also known as unreinforced masonry, in which bricks can come spilling out of walls, striking occupants and passersby and triggering the collapse of the roof. This type of building construction has generally been outlawed in California since the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Some possibly vulnerable brick buildings are located along the popular Third Street Promenade of shops.

The tallest buildings on the list are steel and concrete buildings. About 80 were identified as steel buildings, with the tallest a 13-story condominium and two 12-story office buildings.

About 60 suspected brittle concrete buildings were listed, holding residences, hotel rooms and office space. The tallest is a 21-story building on the western edge of Wilshire Boulevard, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

So-called non-ductile concrete buildings lack enough steel reinforcing bars in the columns, and shaking can cause them to disintegrate. Fifty-two people died in the collapse of several concrete buildings in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake.

Officials also found about 30 possibly vulnerable concrete tilt-up buildings.

The law would not require retrofits of single-family homes.

With the release of its list, Santa Monica has become the first city in California to publicly post a list of addresses of possibly vulnerable concrete and steel buildings that should be evaluated for seismic risk.

Some experts praised Santa Monica for taking the step of identifying possibly vulnerable steel buildings and making it public.

“People in steel buildings deserve to know if their buildings have problems,” said Thomas Heaton, Caltech’s director of the Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory. 

Among the reasons for the flaws in steel buildings were problems in welding technique and inspections, the filler metal used in the welds, and the basic configuration of the connection between vertical columns to horizontal beams, Hamburger said.

“The flaw exists almost universally of buildings of this type constructed from the early 1970s through 1994,” Hamburger said. Most taller steel buildings are moment frame buildings, Hamburger said.

There are a couple of ways to retrofit steel buildings. One is to remove the filler metal used to weld together the steel frame, and replace it with a more modern, tougher metal, said structural engineer Thomas Sabol, a principal at Englekirk. Adding more steel to reinforce the frame can also help.

Another approach has been to reduce the stress on the existing steel frame by adding the equivalent of shock absorbers, which are full of a viscous fluid, Sabol said. 

“If a building collapses, you’re stuck for years. The cost to society is extremely high,” said structural engineer Ashwani Dhalwala, who has chaired the steel committee for the Structural Engineers Assn. of Southern California.

Santa Monica’s proposed law gives owners of steel buildings the most time to retrofit once an order is given to evaluate the structure — 20 years. Brittle concrete buildings will have a deadline of 10 years; wooden apartment buildings, six years; tilt-ups, three years; and brick buildings, two years.

There have been few signs of organized opposition to the proposed law. The Building Owners and Managers Assn. signaled support at a council meeting in December. The city Rent Control Board has yet to consider how retrofit costs will be distributed between owners and tenants.

Sources: City of Santa Monica, Image of downtown Santa Monica Pictometry Imagery.

-Rong-Gong Lin II, Raoul Rañoa and Jon Schleuss

California claims 13th best 'well-being' ranking among the 50 states

Orange County Register


California fell to 13th best in pollster Gallup’s annual ranking of the quality of life in each U.S. state.

Gallup creates this curious livability benchmark through continuous polling of American adults to create its “Well-Being Index” based on five key traits. All told, Gallup conducted 177,192 telephone interviews with U.S. adults in 2016.

The 2016 ranking put California at its lowest level since a 17th place finish in 2013. In 2015, California was ranked 11th; in 2014 it was 12th.

Here’s how California fared in five slices featured in the index:

• Purpose: Tracking the populace’s satisfaction with daily life, California ranked 13th in 2016 vs. 10th a year earlier. Texas ranked first in this category.

• Social: Gauging personal relationships, California ranked 14th in 2016 vs. 18th a year earlier – its biggest ranking improvement. Alaska came in No. 1.

• Financial: Scoring economic security, California ranked 20th in 2016 vs. 21st a year earlier. Hawaii was tops.

• Community: A benchmark of local spirit, California ranked 35th in 2016 vs. 29th a year earlier. It’s the state’s worst score and its biggest rankings dip. Hawaii was best here, too.

• Physical: Measuring of a state population’s healthiness, California ranked sixth in 2016 – its best rating last year – compared with third in 2015. Again, Hawaii came in first.

Nationally, the index reflects a long-running recovery from the recession with significant improvement over the previous two years. One example: Gallup found 55.4 percent of American adults are “thriving” vs. 48.9 percent in 2008.

Health issues looked bleak, however, with incidences of obesity, diabetes and depression at eight-year highs.

Hawaii was the highest ranked state for 2016, followed by Alaska and South Dakota.

Also topping California’s ranking was Maine, Colorado, Vermont, Arizona, Montana, Minnesota and Texas. At the bottom? West Virginia was the worst-ranked state followed by Kentucky, Oklahoma and Indiana.

-Jonathan Lansner

Middle Market Digest: This Week in Southwest


From a new hotel in Phoenix to massive industrial properties in the Inland Empire, development projects throughout the Southwest haven’t stopped breaking ground. There were also loads of deals, data and new hires announced this week. Read on to see some of the highlights.


TUSCON, AZ—Vacancy rates in Tucson finished the year at 6.9%, a full 90 basis points lower than year-end 2015. This marks the fourth straight year that metro-wide vacancy has dropped. New units are being leased at a healthy pace, and construction of new units was steady for most of 2016, however, it is poised to slow down in the months ahead. Developers have delivered an average of 950 units to the Tucson market each year since 2012. Permitting slowed in the second half of 2016 with only 110 multifamily permits issued. This is down from 275 permits in the first six months of last year. Total multifamily permit issuance in 2016 dropped more than 60 percent from the 2015 total. Rental rates in Metro Tucson rose during the final months of the year, which completes six quarters of increasing rents. Asking rents increased by 4.7 percent in 2016, ending the year at $688 per month. Sales of multifamily properties slowed slightly at the end of the year, but 2016 sales outpaced 2015. The median price spiked nearly 30 percent during 2016 and reached more $41,500 per unit. Cap rates compressed to the mid-six percent range with fundamentals indicating a strong investment climate for 2017.



LOS ANGELES—iBorrow has hired Jeanna Sterman as an Investment Associate. Sterman has several years of experience in the real estate industry, and is well versed in underwriting transactions and managing the closing process. In her new role, she will be responsible for coordinating the loan origination, and underwriting and managing the closing. She will also have an integral role in guiding funds and investors through deal terms and diligence materials relating to each loan.

NEWPORT BEACH, CA—Newmeyer & Dillion LLP has elected Ben Ammerman, Anne Kelley and Rondi Walsh to partnership. Ammerman focuses his practice in the areas of business, real estate, and tort litigation; Kelley concentrates primarily in construction litigation and insurance coverage matters. She has over 12 years of experience working closely with builders, developers, contractors and subcontractors throughout Northern California developing legal strategies specific to the needs of each matter and the client’s business and goals, and has litigated a wide variety of complex insurance coverage disputes. Walsh has incorporated into her practice the representation of policyholders in first and third-party insurance coverage, and business lawsuits involving contracts, property disputes, products liability and construction defect issues. She also has litigated numerous political and election law matters and has worked both professionally and as a volunteer on numerous political campaigns.

LOS ANGELES—The brokerage team of Warren Noack, Kimberly Noack, and Travis Noack has joined The Klabin Company/CORFAC International, adding a combined 66 years of real estate expertise to the firm’s Southern California office. The team joins the firm at an exciting time for the market, and will will focus on serving their clients throughout Southern California and the South Bay area.


LOS ANGELES—Avison Young has brokered the acquisition of Legends at Rancho Belago, a 206-unit apartment property in Moreno Valley, CA, for $33.8 million between Cherry Heights and The Reliant Group. The seller had recently renovated a number of the units and completed an extensive renovation and expansion of the clubhouse. The buyer plans to improve upon the level of current renovations to meet the tenant demand for quality rental residences in the market. Located at 13292 Lasselle Street, Legends was originally built as a 40-unit for-sale condominium property in 1993, while the remaining 166 apartment units were built in 2006. Avison Young Principal Sherman represented the buyer, while Institutional Property Advisors represented the seller.

SAN DIEGO—Trigild has brokered the receivership sale of the Encino Corporate Plaza for $35.5 million. Located at 16661 Ventura Boulevard in Encino, the nine-story, 126,275-square-foot office complex was sold to an undisclosed investor through receivership. Encino Corporate Center houses a high-end mix of medical and professional services tenants and is ideally located on Ventura Blvd. with easy access to Hollywood, downtown LA, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks. Trigild’s director of real estate Nancy Daniels represented the seller in the deal, and will remain on board as property manager, overseeing all day-to-day operations of the complex, which is currently 76% leased.

SAN DIEGO—CBRE brokered the sale of Structure Lofts, an award winning 25-luxury unit apartment complex in San Diego’s Hillcrest submarket, for $14.75 million to Structure, L.P. Structure Lofts, located at 440 Upas Street, is a four-story building, including 2,475 square feet of ground floor retail. The property spans 32,545 gross square feet and features studios, one-, and two-bedroom units, with an average floorplan of 1,014 square feet. Unit interiors include 13-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, oversized bathtubs and in-unit washer/dryers. CBRE multifamily experts Eric Comer, Jim Neil, and Merrick Matricardi represented the seller, Balboa Phase I, LLC, with Hammer Commercial Ventures LLC as a managing member.  The seller is a local real estate development and investment firm.  The San Diego-based buyer, Structure, L.P., represented itself.

LOS ANGELES—CBRE has brokered the sale of a 24,575-square-foot, single-tenant, retail building occupied by Numero Uno Markets for $17.9 million to an unidentified local private investor. The deal closed at a capitalization rate of 3.99%, one of the lowest for a single-tenant grocery box. Numero Uno Markets is on a long-term, triple-net corporate lease. The retailer has been reporting exceptional sales at this location at the northwest corner of 3rd Street and Burlington Avenue near Downtown Los Angeles. The property is situated on one parcel of land totaling 2.76 acres and consists of multiple zonings, offering potential for future development at the expiration of the existing lease. CBRE First Vice President Arthur R. Flores represented the seller, an Orange County-based family partnership. The buyer was a Los Angeles-based private investor who purchased the asset as an addition to his real estate portfolio.


SCOTTSDALE, AZ— Scottsdale-based 1784 Capital Holdings LLC has announced the acquisition of 2.52 acres near Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. for development of Scottsdale Promenade Self Storage. The property, located at 7550 E. Paradise Ln., is situated immediately to the south of Promenade Power Center within the master-planned Scottsdale Promenade development. The site is adjacent to retail, Class-A office buildings, high-end multi-family housing, resorts, restaurants and auto dealerships. 1784 Capital Holdings will develop a multi-story, fully air conditioned self-storage building of institutional quality. Access to the development will be available from both Paradise Lane and 76 th Street.

ANAHEIM, CA—Shopoff Realty Investments has acquired a 20.5-acre property in Anaheim, Calif. for redevelopment to residential use. This is the third land development opportunity that Shopoff has undertaken in the City of Anaheim. The property is currently improved with a 356,187-square-foot distribution warehouse and office space.  The corporate seller has been retained as a tenant and will lease the property for the next 15 months. The property is located at 901 E. South Street in the Anaheim Colony area of Anaheim within walking distance of the Anaheim Packing District, the area’s popular, artisan-based multi-eatery dining establishment.

RIVERSIDE, CA—Trammell Crow Co. has started construction on Columbia Business Park, a new Class A, 1.46-million-square-foot speculative industrial development located in the City of Riverside, CA. TCC was selected in by Washington Capital Management Inc. (WCM), advisor to property owner Operating Engineers Pension Trust, Local 12 (Operating Engineers), as the master developer for the 72-acre project. Construction of the 3-building industrial park will be phased to provide ultimate flexibility. The first phase includes: the construction of a 1-million-square-foot distribution center (Building 1) on 46 acres and grading, site work, and design of a 371,229-square-foot distribution center (Building 2) on the adjacent 19 acres. The phased construction of Building 2 provides the flexibility to develop additional parking or trailer storage for Building 1, which will feature 37-foot clear height, 8-inch concrete “level” floor slab, 185-foot deep secured truck courts, ESFR, designated truck queuing lanes, and offices to suit. The second phase includes the development of the adjacent 7-acre parcel, which could provide additional parking, trailer storage, or accommodate a planned 86,853-square-foot building (Building 3).

PHOENIX—Mortenson today broke ground on a Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton at the intersection of N. 1st Street and E. Polk Street, immediately south of the downtown campus of Arizona State University (ASU). It will be the first Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown Phoenix. Construction on the 11-story, 210-key hotel begins this month and is scheduled for completion in summer 2018. The hotel is being designed by PK Architects and Design Force. This is the second Hampton Inn & Suites that Mortenson has developed in the past three years. The hospitality market in Phoenix continues to strengthen with the growing demand in the area.

-Kelsi Maree Borland

Draftsmen & Craftsmen


McCormick Construction has completed the $2.7 mil renovation of LINQ, an 80k sf creative campus located adjacent to the Redondo Beach Metro station at 2400 Marine Ave in Redondo Beach. Owned by Montana Avenue Capital Partners, the newly renovated campus comprises four quadrants, three of which have already been leased to two major technology clients. McCormick’s scope of work for the exterior of the facility included constructing new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant concrete ramps, an ipe wood deck and new exterior façades and door entries, updating the building with a fresh coat of paint, new lighting, an upgraded fire system and roof, as well as new parking lots and driveways. Interior renovations included completely gutting the space and building new demising walls, upgrading the electrical service, and constructing new core bathroom facilities, skylights and a brand new main lobby area. To appeal to a range of tenant types, Montana Avenue Capital Partners requested additional renovations by McCormick to meet current trends in creative office such as polished concrete floors, exposed ceilings, glass roll-up doors, indoor-outdoor collaborative workspaces, electric vehicle charging stations and new landscaping that meets the latest drought-tolerant codes. The McCormick project management team members included Alan Hartley, director of interiors and special projects; Hector Bocanegra, superintendent; and Joe Adelaars, project manager. Ware Malcomb was the architect for the project. Structural engineering services were provided by Insight Engineering. In addition to LINQ, McCormick’s recent creative office projects include Nickelodeon Animation Studio, a five-story, 110k sf production building which held its grand opening in early 2017; Element LA, a 12-acre, 300k sf adaptive reuse creative office campus which is fully leased to Riot Games; and Santa Monica Gateway, a 200k sf, Class A office project which is currently under construction in Santa Monica.


Daily Brief February 13, 2017 unsubscribe


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