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Equity Office Daily Brief: May 24, 2018

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Daily Brief

May 24, 2018

  EquilityOffice

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Snap Inc. launches accelerator program to invest in media start-ups

Los Angeles Times

 

Snap Inc. will dole out $150,000 investments to various media start-ups this fall as part of an accelerator program it announced Wednesday called Yellow. For the first cohort of the program, which starts in September and goes for three months, the company...

 


Calabasas Office Building Sells for $11 Million

San Fernando Business Journal

 

A building at Corporate Center Calabasas has sold for $11 million, brokerage CBRE Group Inc. announced Tuesday. CBRE’s Michael Slater, Tom Dwyer and Mike Longo represented the seller, Majestic Asset Management of Agoura Hills. Thousand Oaks-based Westcord Commercial Real Estate Services represented...

 


After Bankruptcy, Oil Company Breitburn Exiting Los Angeles

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

Fresh off exiting bankruptcy, one of the successor companies to the former Breitburn Energy Partners oil company has filed notice with the state that it intends to exit Los Angeles in July, laying off 51 employees. In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining...

 


Openpath Launches with $7 Million Raise

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

Culver City-based office security tech firm Openpath launched May 22, helped by a $7 million funding round and helped by local funds. Upfront Ventures and Bonfire Ventures, both of Santa Monica, Fika Ventures and Pritzker Group Venture Capital, both Westside based, and...

 



BLOG & ONLINE NEWS

 

County supervisor says 'all feasible build alternatives' should be studied for Metro's next rail line

Curbed LA

 

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis is resurfacing the idea of building a rail line along the Los Angeles River, east of Downtown LA. She sent a letter Wednesday afternoon to Metro’s Board of Directors urging its members to look at “all...

 


DivcoWest in advanced talks to buy office complex built by David Geffen

The Real Deal

 

DivcoWest Real Estate Investments is in advanced discussions to pay $83 million to acquire a Beverly Hills office building built by entertainment mogul David Geffen, The Real Deal has learned. RREEF America is the seller of the property, which is located at...

 


Is Mixed-Use The Real Darling Of CRE?

Globe St.

 

Mixed-use properties may be the true darling of commercial real estate, if only there were enough opportunities. Developers have favored the product type for years especially as Southern California cities has seen a need to create more density, but because it...

 


Takeover Battle For IWG Could Throw Light On WeWork's $20B Valuation

Bisnow

 

The three-way bidding war to acquire U.K.-based shared office pioneer IWG values the company at $4.1B including debt, just seven times its earnings, the Wall Street Journal reports. That is in considerable contrast to WeWork's valuation of more than $20B, or...

 


Regional Connector Reaches Halfway Point

LA Downtown News

 

DTLA - One of most ambitious public transit undertakings in Los Angeles County reached a milestone last week. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it has hit the halfway point on the Regional Connector, a $1.77 billion project that will streamline cross-county rail...

 

FULL TEXT


Snap Inc. launches accelerator program to invest in media start-ups

Los Angeles Times

 

Snap Inc. will dole out $150,000 investments to various media start-ups this fall as part of an accelerator program it announced Wednesday called Yellow.

For the first cohort of the program, which starts in September and goes for three months, the company is seeking start-ups that "have a vision for what mobile storytelling can be."

In exchange for an undisclosed amount of equity, those who make the cut will receive the $150,000 investment, as well as office space in Los Angeles' Venice neighborhood, where Snap is based; mentorship; access to Snap-facilitated networking events; and the opportunity to distribute their content on Snap's platform, Snapchat.

Snap will accept 10 applicants in its first cohort, a company representative said. That would suggest an initial upfront investment of $1.5 million. The representative would not specify exactly how big an equity stake Snap would take from each start-up, but said that the size would be in line with Y-Combinator's figures.

Y-Combinator, Silicon Valley's most famous tech incubator, invests $120,000 for a 7% equity stake and has helped launch companies such as Airbnb, Dropbox and Twitch.

Tech incubators have long existed to provide funding and support for up-and-coming start-ups in exchange for an equity stake. But a growing number of established firms have in recent years launched their own incubators to help build companies that could eventually benefit their own businesses.

Coca-Cola, Oracle and Microsoft are among the companies that have their own start-up accelerator programs.

Applications for the first cohort of Snap's accelerator program close July 8.

-Tracey Lien 

Calabasas Office Building Sells for $11 Million

San Fernando Business Journal

 

A building at Corporate Center Calabasas has sold for $11 million, brokerage CBRE Group Inc. announced Tuesday.

CBRE’s Michael Slater, Tom Dwyer and Mike Longo represented the seller, Majestic Asset Management of Agoura Hills. Thousand Oaks-based Westcord Commercial Real Estate Services represented the undisclosed buyer, a real estate investment firm based in Westlake Village.

Located at 26565-26707 W. Agoura Road in Calabasas, Corporate Center Calabasas consists of six office buildings ranging from 21,000 to 70,000 square feet. According to CoStar, the three-story building, built in 1990, has 23,626 square feet for lease at $28.80 per square foot.

Majestic will upgrade the premises to include modern amenities such as a tenant-exclusive gym, a restaurant and outdoor collaboration spaces.

The transaction marks the second sale on the six-building campus this year. In February, CBRE facilitated the sale of another Majestic building for nearly $9 million to a local private investor.

-Michael Aushenker

After Bankruptcy, Oil Company Breitburn Exiting Los Angeles

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

Fresh off exiting bankruptcy, one of the successor companies to the former Breitburn Energy Partners oil company has filed notice with the state that it intends to exit Los Angeles in July, laying off 51 employees.

In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification letter to the state Employment Development Department dated May 3, Breitburn Management Co. announced it intends to lay off 51 employees starting July 6 at its downtown Los Angeles office as the company consolidates to its Houston office.

That would mark the final Los Angeles act for an oil company launched in 1988 by one-time Stanford University roommates and then business partners Halbert Washburn and Randy Breitenbach. The company, which launched as as Breitburn Energy Corp., eventually became the Breitburn Energy Partners master limited partnership. That partnership filed for bankruptcy in May 2016 after a 2014 deal left it saddled with $2 billion in debt just before oil prices collapsed.

The current entity that emerged from bankruptcy, Breitburn Management, also referred to as Breitburn Operating LP, is a subsidiary of Maverick Natural Resources. Mavierick is majority-owned by EIG Global Energy Partners, a Washington D.C. energy investment firm that assumed a stake worth $1 billion in Breitburn in March 2015 and was one of the largest creditors of the company after it filed for bankruptcy a year later.

Under the bankruptcy reorganization plan confirmed in March by U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, the former Breitburn was to be split into two separate companies: One containing holdings in the prime oil producing West Texas Permian Basin and the other containing holdings in other locations, including the northern Midwest, the Rocky Mountains and California.

So far, though, on the Breitburn Operating/Maverick Natural Resources website, all the former Breitburn Energy Partners holdings are listed, which would indicate the split has yet to be finalized. A call to Breitburn Operating LP was not returned.

-Howard Fine

Openpath Launches with $7 Million Raise

Los Angeles Business Journal

 

Culver City-based office security tech firm Openpath launched May 22, helped by a $7 million funding round and helped by local funds.

Upfront Ventures and Bonfire Ventures, both of Santa Monica, Fika Ventures and Pritzker Group Venture Capital, both Westside based, and Sorenson Ventures of Palo Alto, participated in the funding round.

Openpath’s product, Openpath Access, is a cloud-based system that is designed to allow employees, managers and business owners to securely enter the office by using their smartphones, the company said.

Openpath’s co-founders, James Segil and Alex Kazerani, co-founded EdgeCast Networks, a Santa Monica-based content delivery network in 2006. Verizon Communications Inc. purchased it in 2013 for $350 million.

-Cirian McEvoy

County supervisor says 'all feasible build alternatives' should be studied for Metro's next rail line

Curbed LA

 

Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis is resurfacing the idea of building a rail line along the Los Angeles River, east of Downtown LA.

She sent a letter Wednesday afternoon to Metro’s Board of Directors urging its members to look at “all feasible build alternatives” for the West Santa Ana Branch rail line. That line is slated to run roughly 20 miles between Downtown LA and the Gateway Cities in southeast LA County, offering passengers a transfer-free ride from Union Station to the Orange County border.

Metro aims to open the West Santa Ana Branch line by 2028, but the agency has yet to determine exactly where the Downtown LA portion of the line will run. The agency’s Board of Directors is set to decide today which Downtown LA route options will be carried into the line’s environmental review process.

Metro staffers have discounted the alignment along the river. But Solis says it should be on the table. It’s the only option that would potentially lead to the line being built as heavy rail.

It would open the door to revolutionizing transportation connections between Orange County and LA.

As Streetsblog argued earlier this month, if that alignment were built as heavy rail, the West Santa Ana Branch could potentially be built as an extension of Metro’s Red and Purple subway lines. The Red and Purple lines run through North Hollywood, Hollywood, Los Feliz, Koreatown, MacArthur Park, and Downtown, and the Purple Line is being extended now from Koreatown to the Westside, through Mid City, Fairfax, Century City, Beverly Hills, Westwood, and Brentwood.

If those lines were to connect to the West Santa Ana Branch, it would open the door to revolutionizing transportation connections between Orange County and LA, should OC leaders ever choose to build rail north from Santa Ana to Artesia.

As Solis’ letter highlights, an alignment along the river would eliminate the need to build several miles of costly new train tunnels under Downtown Los Angeles. It would also spare Little Tokyo, where work on the Regional Connector is underway and where part of the Gold Line Eastside extension was built, from another decade of construction.

Studying this particular alignment would help the Metro board fully understand “additional options for a one-seat ride into Union Station,” the letter says.

But Metro staffers have rejected that option. Instead, they are recommending that board study three light rail options: two that run through Little Tokyo and terminate at different spots in or near Union Station and another that would end in the Downtown LA “transit core,” likely close to either Seventh Street/Metro Center or the Pershing Square subway stations.

After multiple Metro directors inquired about building the line as an extension of the Red and Purple lines, Metro staff released a report that flatly dismissed the concept, saying it would cost too much: $12 to $18 billion.

Staffers said those figures were “based on recent Metro projects,” but Streetsblog called them “bogus.” There isn’t a transportation project in Los Angeles County that can be compared cost-wise to a heavy-rail version of the West Santa Ana Branch.

To date, all heavy rail Metro projects have been built as costly underground subways.

Subways are a type of heavy rail, but heavy rail trains can also be built above ground. They can carry a high volume of passengers, and generally require tracks that are fully separated from cross-traffic like cars and pedestrians. That makes them faster and more reliable than light rail lines, which tend to have lots of grade-level intersection crossings.

Most of the West Santa Ana Branch will be built along an existing railroad right-of-way. In that sense, it’s similar to the most recent extension of the Bay Area’s heavy rail BART system, where more than 5 miles of track were built for less than $1 billion over the past three years.

“Building a train on an existing ROW does not cost more than a whole new tunnel and tracks through Downtown,” Streetsblog wrote.

Still, the alignment that Solis is pushing for would be costly if it were built as heavy rail. It would likely require more grade separation than light rail due to the presence of the third rail.

But, as Streetsblog wrote, it “has the potential to be a win-win-win for Metro riders, and for the communities the WSAB would serve.” Metro supervisors will have to decide whether it’s worth it.

-Matt Tinoco

DivcoWest in advanced talks to buy office complex built by David Geffen

The Real Deal

 

DivcoWest Real Estate Investments is in advanced discussions to pay $83 million to acquire a Beverly Hills office building built by entertainment mogul David Geffen, The Real Deal has learned.

RREEF America is the seller of the property, which is located at 331 N. Maple Drive. The company is the asset management arm of Deutsche Bank.

Geffen, founder of Geffen Records and co-founder of DreamWorks SKG, conceived the 89,000-square-foot building as the headquarters of Geffen Records in 2000. It features a variety of high-tech amenities for entertainment tenants, such as a 45-seat theater, sound-proof studios, a custom JBL sound system and custom-built video conferencing system.

The Gwathmey Siegel & Associates-designed building has been home to DreamWorks, Maverick Records and AOL, according to marketing materials.

DivcoWest would spend $4 million to renovate some of the building’s common areas, sources said.

RREEF did not return requests for comment. DivcoWest declined to comment.

San Francisco-based DivcoWest, led by CEO Stuart Shiff, owns several properties around Los Angeles, including the Glendale Plaza. It recently sold the Water’s Edge creative office campus in Playa Vista to Rockwood Capital for $190.5 million, and most recently partnered with California State Teachers’ Retirement System on a joint venture that will invest in commercial real estate in five states.

-Natalie Hoberman 

Is Mixed-Use The Real Darling Of CRE?

Globe St.

 

Mixed-use properties may be the true darling of commercial real estate, if only there were enough opportunities. Developers have favored the product type for years especially as Southern California cities has seen a need to create more density, but because it is a relatively new asset class here, there aren’t many opportunities to invest in mixed-use properties with strong upside. The Campus on Via La Jolla, a five-building mixed-use office property with 83% occupancy, recently came to market and proved the strong demand. It traded hands for $97.1 million, and saw a flurry of interest.

NKF executive managing director Brunson Howard, who represented the seller, La Jolla Village Professional Center Associates, in the deal says that with limited land for new development, there will be a stronger push for redevelopment of existing mixed-use properties. “In terms of existing mixed use with scale and a truly dynamic location available to acquire, supply is very limited and demand is quite high,” Howard tells GlobeSt.com. “Mixed-use seems to reflect the live, work, play mantra that is so prevalent today as the lines between each of those phases of modern life have blurred. Mixed-use is the emerging present and probably the future, and San Diego is in large part built-out as it relates to available land for ground up opportunities. So, going forward mixed-use opportunities will need to be redevelopment plays more so than ground-up development, and therefore many existing traditional sites may need to be repurposed and redeveloped to include retail, office, and residential. Existing owners certainly understand the value of these projects and are understandably reticent to sale in many cases so the market becomes quite limited very quickly.”

Howard represent the seller along with his NKF colleagues co-head of U.S. Capital Markets Kevin Shannon; executive managing directors Ken White and Paul Jones, and senior managing director Rick Stumm. The asset was so popular among investors because of a combination of rarity and upside potential through renovation. “The Campus on Via La Jolla is truly a generational asset in that it hasn’t been available to acquire in well over 25 years,” says Hudson. “Additionally, the opportunity to secure nearly seven acres west of the I-5 at the gateway to coastal La Jolla, in close proximity to world-class amenities, and state-of-the-art mass transit is genuinely rare and will likely not come around again for many years. There is both a capital preservation as well as a significant growth opportunity at The Campus on Via La Jolla, which is exceedingly difficult to find.”

The upside potential will be generated by driving rental rate increases through capital improvements and the activation of unused portions of the property. “The bricks-and-mortar here lend themselves very well to the Southern California lifestyle. This is an open air, costal campus environment that is transit-oriented with retail, office, and medical components,” adds Hudson. “The risk is diversified across multiple uses and there are a wide array of opportunities to unlock value here which include further activating the retail component, deploying targeted capital across the campus to drive rent growth, and continuing the vision of prior ownership to activate all of the open air common patios and terraces. It is truly unique real estate in a world-class location that we are excited to watch closely over the coming years.”

-Kelsi Maree Borland

Takeover Battle For IWG Could Throw Light On WeWork's $20B Valuation

Bisnow

 

The three-way bidding war to acquire U.K.-based shared office pioneer IWG values the company at $4.1B including debt, just seven times its earnings, the Wall Street Journal reports. That is in considerable contrast to WeWork's valuation of more than $20B, or about 20 times its earnings.

A $20B valuation puts WeWork in the same league for startup valuation as Uber, Airbnb and SpaceX — for a business model that is not all that different from IWG, which is considerably larger.

These highlights suggest the possibility of overvaluation of WeWork as an entity fueled, as the WSJ puts it, by Silicon Valley pixie dust.

Last November, in an interview with Bisnow, IWG founder and CEO Mark Dixon said WeWork seems to be dabbling in one too many things. 

"It can be easy to lose your focus. I am sure they are very good at what they do but this business needs a lot of capital and it can be very easy to make mistakes when you expand quickly," Dixon said. 

IWG has overcome a rocky start as Regus in the dot-com era to its present condition. After the dot-com bubble burst, it went through bankruptcy and has grown more cautiously since then.

As recently as October, the company released a profit warning, citing a weaker London market and disruption due to natural disasters in the United States, Reuters reported, though it bounced back by the end of last year.

In February, a previous takeover attempt by Canadian companies Brookfield and Onex fell through. The current competing bids to take over the company are by Starwood Capital, U.K. buyout specialist TDR Capital and U.S. private equity company Lone Star.

Currently, IWG has about 3,000 locations under various brands (Regus, Spaces) in 900 cities worldwide. For its part, WeWork now has about 170 locations and has been aggressively expanding in recent months, acquiring Meetup, Conductor and naked Hub in China. It has also raised $400M to acquire properties directly, Crunchbase reports.

-Dees Stribling 

Regional Connector Reaches Halfway Point

LA Downtown News

 

DTLA - One of most ambitious public transit undertakings in Los Angeles County reached a milestone last week.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said it has hit the halfway point on the Regional Connector, a $1.77 billion project that will streamline cross-county rail travel by enabling people to ride from Santa Monica to East Los Angeles and Azusa to Long Beach without having to change trains. The work involves extensive tunneling in Downtown Los Angeles, along with the creation of three new stations.

Metro was set to celebrate the construction milestone with a “Halfway There” event on Saturday, May 19 (after Los Angeles Downtown News went to press) in Little Tokyo. The community is the site of extensive construction for the project, including a new station that will open at First Street and Central Avenue.

The project is on pace for completion in December 2021.

“This project is unique,” said Gary Baker, project manager for the Regional Connector. “Normally, you build and extend outward. For this one, it’s the opposite.”

The project has been in the works since 2007, and construction began in 2014. The work involves digging a pair of 1.9-mile tunnels that will connect Metro’s Blue, Expo and Gold lines in Downtown.

According to Metro’s estimates, the Regional Connector will increase ridership across the entire transportation system by 17,000 people per day, while saving commuters an average of 20-30 minutes by reducing the need to travel to other transit stations or to transfer onto different lines.

Metro’s 1,000-ton boring machine, named Angeli, completed the tunnels in one year. Angeli displaced approximately 400 feet of rock and rubble per day.

Once the first tunnel was completed, the machine had to be completely disassembled, then moved back to the starting point in Little Tokyo to begin the second tunnel.

Construction has not been without snags. The route passes through some of Los Angeles’ oldest streets.

Baker said that construction was halted at times as workers bumped up against almost 100-year-old water and electrical lines. Metro worked with various utility companies to devise a plan to either remove the components, or completely rebuild them if necessary.

“One of the lessons learned is that knowing where things are isn’t good enough,” Baker said. “We also need to know what condition things are in.”

Metro received $670 million for the project from a federal grant, with an additional $160 million provided through a loan with the caveat that the work be completed by May of 2021. According to Metro, the loan allows for deadline extensions for “unforeseen circumstances.” An additional $940 million comes from a combination of state bonds and funding from Measure R, which was passed by county voters in 2008 to support mass-transit projects.

The project was initially budgeted at $1.35 billion, but costs have steadily risen.

The underground Little Tokyo station will replace a street-level Gold Line station. Another station is being built at Second Street and Broadway, accessible to the Historic Core and the Civic Center. The final station is on Bunker Hill, at Second and Hope streets, and will provide easy access to The Broad, Walt Disney Concert Hall and other attractions on Grand Avenue.

On Monday, May 14, Metro officials showed off progress on the soon-to-be completed Little Tokyo Station as part of an event dubbed Infrastructure Week. Activities during the sixth annual happening, intended to highlight infrastructure deficiencies across the country, and the response to those problems, took place on the East and West Coast.

In Little Tokyo, approximately 20 local stakeholders were provided with boots, a hard hat, goggles and gloves, and were led down a winding, almost erector set-like flight of stairs, into a cavernous construction pit. Massive slabs of concrete and other building materials were stacked to one side, waiting to be fashioned into the eventual subterranean station.

Baker led groups into the 19 1/2-foot tall tunnels. The tunnels are constructed with massive, rectangular-shaped sections of concrete that appear as if they were snapped together like perfectly fitted puzzle pieces.

The train tracks have yet to be installed; the lack of tracks allowed the tour to freely traverse the tunnels.

Only a few workers were visible in the pit. A Metro official said that 250 people are currently working on the project in Downtown at any given time.

-Sean P. Thomas

Daily Brief May 24, 2018 unsubscribe

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