From DTLA to Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles has a micro-market for every demographic, and it is a big draw for institutional investors.
BY KELSI MAREE BORLAND
Los Angeles is rapidly growing, but it is also evolving into a city unlike any other. While every city is segmented by neighborhoods, Los Angeles sprawl is giving way to a series of micro markets across the city that serve specific target demographics. As a result, institutional investors—a capital source that has started to target Los Angeles in recent years—is looking for opportunities in these markets.
“I think that what is different, especially being a native Angeleno, is that L.A. has developed into micro markets,” Dean Zander, EVP at CBRE, tells GlobeSt.com when asked how Los Angeles has evolved over the years. “Locally, there are all of these micro markets within L.A. that are getting a lot of attention and a lot of funding to grow. They are getting their own individuality.”
While markets like Downtown Los Angeles, which is undergoing a dramatic renaissance, get a lot of headlines, Zander points to several L.A. markets that are growing and getting investor attention. “Downtown Los Angeles continues to grow and expand, and it is now attracting world class restaurants, hotels and retailers. At the same time, other markets are also growing,” he says. “We are seeing the Warner Center Specific plan being unveiled with thousands of units, hotels and office towers. NoHo has come into its own and has become very edgy and urban, and it is an exciting place to live. Then the Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey area have been completely redeveloped.”
These markets all have their own character and unique atmosphere, but they also attract attention from specific renter demographics, like millennials and baby boomers. “The target renter demographic are attracted to these different areas for a variety of reasons, and I think that there is continued growth that we are going to enjoy,” adds Zander.
These demographic groups are growing, and helping to fuel growth in these markets and extending the runway for the Los Angeles market in general. “Between the home affordability index and the millennial and senior populations growing, I think that we have a very strong runway ahead of us for continued growth,” Zander explains. “It has been a long cycle, and history tells us that we are in a cyclical business, I don’t think that we are nearing the end or late in the game.”
San Diego-based Logan Capital Advisors acquired a two-property apartment portfolio for $33 million in Colton, CA from Los Angeles-based TruAmerica. The assets include Reche Ridge, a 110-unit apartment complex, and 1333 Canyon, a 104-unit apartment home property. The buildings are located at 2270 Cahuilla St. and 1333 Reche Canyon.
Berkadia’s Jim Fisher and Mike Smith, along with Dean Zander, who subsequently joined CBRE from Berkadia, represented the seller. CBRE also arranged the interest-only debt for the buyer as part of a 1031-exchange.
Zander says, “The increasing demand for housing and manufacturing in this area make multifamily a wise investment. The Inland Empire has really benefitted from the influx of people and jobs driven by all the industrial and e-commerce growth, and is generally considered an affordable alternative to many other Southern California regions.”
Dean Zander, CBRE’s new multifamily institutional sales expert, says that activity from institutional capital, both foreign and local, is strong in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is fast becoming a favorite market for institutional multifamily buyers. Capital from local, domestic and foreign buyers is attracted to Southern California for both direct acquisitions and local partnerships. With many experts predicting an extended runway, Dean Zander, executive VP of CBRE capital markets and an expert on multifamily institutional sales, says that the activity is poised to grow over the next year.
“I think the activity is going to accelerate. There are institutional caliber assets and institutional caliber clients, and I think that the capital that is being attracted to Southern California, particularly to L.A. and the surrounding counties, is looking for a safe harbor. L.A. is viewed as a safe place for investment, particularly in the coastal regions. We are seeing a strong flow of capital coming into the Los Angeles market, predominately from local and Southern California-based buyers, and then from West Coast-based buyers, then we track throughout the country,” Zander tells GlobeSt.com. “Then, we are seeing enhanced interest from foreign buyers as well, weather that is Chinese, German, Canadian. The CB brand is perfectly suited to attract that capital.”
In recent years, major developments and investments from Asian investors, mostly from China and Korea, have made headlines. While there is a lot of capital from Asia, Zander says that Germany, Canada and Latin American countries are also major players in the market. “I think it has been more Asian dominated in the press,” says Zander. “That has gotten more attention, especially with some of the specific development sites in Downtown Los Angeles, but the Canadians have actually been much more active, but maybe not as news worthy because they are so local.”
This capital is chasing institutional-quality assets, but L.A. is known for its family ownership. Where there are no institutional-quality assets available, this capital is creating local partnerships. “We are absolutely seeing institutional-backed sponsors entering suburban markets with the idea of doing a deep value-add program to a B or even a C class asset,” adds Zander. “The institutions will typically find a local sponsor that has experience rolling up their sleeves and spending $25,000 to $40,000 per unit to renovate this product.”
IEC, a Bay Area-based discretionary fund manager, has purchased Warner Center Townhomes, a 27-unit res property in the western San Fernando Valley community of Woodland Hills, for $11.5 mil ($426k/unit). Built in 2005, the property is located at 6737 De Soto Ave, within the upscale Warner Center submarket.
The seller, an entity associated with Pacific Crest Realty, purchased the property several years earlier for $9.8 mil and had cosmetically enhanced all common areas.
“When we purchased the building, The Village at Westfield Topanga was still in the planning stages and now with its enormous success, it is reinforcing Warner Center’s position as the new Downtown of the San Fernando Valley,” commented Dan Tenenbaum, President of Pacific Crest. “The marketing effort attracted the attention of over 100 capital sources from active investors including private individuals, sponsored equity groups, and value-add experts.”
Dean Zander with CBRE represented both parties in the transaction.
“This closing is further proof of demand in the “value-add” space for well-located urban infill properties,” noted Zander. “Warner Center has experienced substantial growth and development highlighted by The Village at Westfield Topanga as well as continued expansion with developments including the Promenade 2035 and Uptown at Warner Center, located just west of the property.”
Warner Center contains over 6 msf of Class A office space. The submarket supports over 200,000 jobs. Major employers include Sun America, Unitrin County Mutual Insurance, Farmers Insurance, Blue Cross, Life Care Assurance, Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney Health Net, Intuit, United Online, Viking River Cruises, Universal Music Group, and Wells Fargo.
The institutional multifamily sales expert joins CBRE with a stated goal of tripling his market share in 24 months, GlobeSt.com reports EXCLUSIVELY.
BY KELSI BORLAND
CBRE has officially tapped Dean Zander, an institutional multifamily sales expert and industry veteran, as an EVP in the firm’s Capital Markets Group. Zander joins the firm from Berkadia, where he spent 18 years, and will focus on expanding the CBRE’s institutional multifamily investment sales presence in the Southern California markets.
“I started looking around at the landscape and tracking the flow of capital from Main Street to Wall Street and looking at where the appetite was for investing for multifamily,” Zander tells GlobeSt.com about why CBRE was a good fit for him. “Multifamily has been the favored food group for the last decade, and I think that is going to continue to grow. I wanted to be at a platform where I could take advantage of that, and have access to the relationships that a company like CBRE offers. For that reason, it was very attractive to me.”
The multifamily investment sales market has grown tremendously in Los Angeles, and capital from institutional buyers has been flooding into the market. Zander thinks that this is a great time for CBRE to grow its market share here, and he is up to the task. “CBRE is deeply involved in the institutional business on a national basis and in Southern California. In Los Angeles, as a standalone region, they don’t quite have the market share that I thought that they could,” he adds. “I think it is the perfect blend of where my career has taken me and where CBRE has given me a rare opportunity to bring my experience and expertise to a shop with a terrific footprint.”
While he wouldn’t comment on his exact goals, Zander expects to triple his market share in his first 24 months at CBRE. He is also looking to build a team. “My plan is to triple my market share inside of 24 months,” he says. “I am in the process of completing the build out of my team to complement the resources that are being offered from CBRE.”
At Berkadia, Zander was a senior managing director and a top five producer, responsible for some headline stealing deals, including, most recently, Monterey Station for $84.5 million, Eaves Tustin for $163.6 million, and Amerige Pointe for $115.0 million. In total, he has completed more than $5 billion in multifamily sales throughout Southern California during his career.
LOS ANGELES TIMES by Roger Vincent
Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times
Renderings of a proposed 2.6-million-square-foot development that would turn the Warner Center Corporate Park into a dense collection of residences, stores, a hotel and new offices.
One of Warner Center’s one-story rambling office parks is poised to go vertical as a new era of urbanization unfolds in the Woodland Hills neighborhood.
The proposed $1-billion development by Adler Realty Investments Inc. is one of many big real estate plans coming together in Warner Center, where Los Angeles city planners are working to create another densely occupied urban hub with the appeal of a bustling city neighborhood.
And there’s a lot space to work with in the asphalt plains of what is still mostly a suburban office district. Health insurer Anthem Inc., for example, is trying to sell its 26-acre parking lot to a developer interested in building a new community there.
The planned building boom may help Warner Center finally achieve its original purpose. In the early 1970s, planners decided that the west Valley land, once the site of movie mogul Harry Warner’s horse ranch, should be turned into a “downtown” for the San Fernando Valley.
As it developed, however, Warner Center bore only passing resemblance to the densely built urban districts people associate with that word.
Today, the neighborhood is a mix of office towers that pierce a sea of cookie-cutter, low-slung office buildings served by acres of surface parking lots. Apartments and stores are mostly isolated in discreet blocks, and the whole expanse is ringed and cleaved by wide, fast-moving streets that flow to freeways.
“It needs the edge that downtown L.A., Marina del Rey and NoHo have,” said Dean Zander, an executive at real estate advisory firm Berkadia. “To attract millennials, it should have more of an urban feel with bars, gathering places and social centers.”
That vision is at the core of a plan adopted by the city in 2013 intended to make Warner Center feel more like a city.
Officials approved zoning that allows for up to 30 million square feet of commercial space, double what currently exists. The plan also removed building height caps in most of the 1.5-square-mile district bounded by the 101 Freeway, Vanowen Street, DeSoto Avenue and Topanga Canyon Boulevard.
Longtime valley landlord Michael Adler of Adler Realty recently unveiled plans to turn his suburban-looking Warner Center Corporate Park office campus into a 2.6-million-square-foot development where people could live and work.
Adler and financial partner LLJ Ventures plan to demolish his 350,000-SF office park, composed mostly of islands of low-slung concrete and black-glass buildings separated by parking lots.
He has applied for approval to replace the 1980s-era development with more than 1 million square feet of offices, 80,000 square feet of stores and restaurants, 1,000 residential units, 68 live-work units and a 228-room hotel. There would also be parks and pedestrian-oriented open space.
Other developers have projects planned for vacant sites, but Adler plans to remake an active property. His existing complex is almost fully leased to such tenants as Allstate Insurance and U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
He plans to build out the development over 15 years or more as leases expire but hopes to start on the apartments in about 18 months.
“People who work in the area need more housing to keep up” with demand, he said.
Zander, who rode his bicycle through the empty streets of Warner Center as a boy in the 1970s, estimates that 9,100 apartments and condominiums are in the development pipeline now and thousands more are being considered.
The influx of residents along with mixed-use projects like Adler’s should help connect Warner Center’s pockets of offices, malls and apartments into a city-like neighborhood, Zander said.
“There are enough new properties pending that are going to bring that sophistication to the area and hopefully straddle the lines and making it more of an urban center,” he said.
Westfield, whose Warner Center retail properties draw 20 million shoppers annually, is already underway on a massive $1.5-billion project to demolish its obsolete Promenade shopping mall. Dating from 1972, it will be replaced with an expansive mixed-use complex with nearly 1,500 residences, two hotels and a concert venue.
“We feel this part of Los Angeles continues to get better and better,” said Larry Green, senior vice president of development for Westfield, who grew up in Van Nuys. “It has become a more desirable place to live.”
In addition to housing, plans for a new Promenade include shops, offices, hotels and a 15,000-seat arena for concerts and sports. Also envisioned are 7 acres of open space, including a 1-acre park, known as Promenade Square, that could host outdoor movie nights.
The Promenade development could get underway by 2020 and could take 15 years to complete in phases.
Scheduled to start next year and be completed far sooner is Westfield’s $300-million project to convert the former Sears store between Westfield Topganga and the Village shopping centers to a movie complex, along with restaurants and a “flagship” store for a prominent retail brand, Green said,
Renderings of a proposed 2.6 million square foot development that would turn the Warner Center Corporate Park into a dense collection of residences, stores, a hotel, and new offices . (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Another major Warner Center project is underway at the old Rocketdyne plant on Canoga Avenue. The 47-acre site called Uptown at Warner Center will give way to a high-rise “urban neighborhood” with 4 million square feet of residences, 1.1 million square feet of offices, hotels and stores. It is to have a central park, performance spaces and pedestrian paths.
In addition, the Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council recently approved a seven-story, 170-room hotel proposed for 5957 Variel Ave. at Oxnard Street that would replace a small office building built in 1979.
The Warner Center 2035 plan is designed to unify these projects and others.
It divides the area into eight districts with names such as Downtown, Uptown and Commerce, each with its own development guidelines. The plan calls for the long city blocks to be broken up with new pedestrian pathways, new streets and more crosswalks. Developers will pay fees to fund many of the changes.
The city’s green light for dense development in Warner Center has made land more valuable, and some owners are hoping to cash in by selling their property to developers.
Anthem Inc., which occupies a 14-story office tower at 21555 Oxnard St., recently put the surrounding 26-acre parking lot on the market, telling buyers that the city’s 2035 plan would allow them to build more than 5.5 million square feet of offices, residences, stores and hotel rooms.
Anthem is typical of tenants in the Warner Center office market. The district has historically has been known as a “back office” location for big companies that need inexpensive space for scores of employees, said real estate broker Mike Longo of CBRE.
It’s also been a weak office market in the past but has improved significantly in recent years.
Overall vacancy is about 11%, he said, down from as high as 20% in 2010. Average rents for Class A space are about $2.70 per SF per month, compared with as much as $7 in Santa Monica and $3.50 in Encino. That’s an attraction for the developers who are planning mixed-use projects that will eventually include still more offices.
The 2035 plan amounts to a welcome mat for any builder who may have a hard time finding space elsewhere in the region.
“Warner Center is very favorable for developers coming in, given the lack of supply” of available land in L.A., Longo said. “It’s a really attractive place to develop.”
By Samantha Goldberg
The buyer plans to update the 292-unit Amerige Pointe, which is located within a historic master-planned community.
Fullerton, Calif.--Amerige Pointe, a 292-unit Class A property within the master-planned Amerige Heights community, sold for $115 million, Berkadia announced. The sale, which comes out to about $394,000 per unit, was facilitated by Berkadia‘s Joe Leon, Jeff Rowerdink and Dean Zander, who represented both the seller and the buyer.
The buyer and seller were not disclosed, but the last time the property sold was in 2004, when PGIM Real Estate bought the community for about $89,000 per unit from Morgan Group, according to Yardi Matrixdata.
Located at 1001 Starbuck St., in North Orange County’s Sunny Hills neighborhood, Amerige Pointe comprises 17 three-story buildings and 10,300 square feet of retail space. The 12.5-acre site offers a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units as well as some townhome apartments. Units range in size from 690 square feet for a studio and up to 1,327 square feet for a three-bedroom/two-bath unit, with monthly rents of $1,994 and $2,847, respectively, according to Yardi Matrix.
Unit features include detached garages, washers and dryers, 9-foot ceilings and kitchens with islands. The community offers amenities like an indoor sports court, conference room, theater, game room, fitness center and resort-style pool with spa. The property’s occupancy is currently at 96.9 percent, according to Yardi Matrix data.
The buyer is described as a global fund and plans to upgrade the interiors and some of the common area spaces.
“Since the interiors were over 10 years old, Amerige represented a rare opportunity to acquire an institutional-quality multifamily asset in North Orange County with a value-add component,” Zander said. The community is located across from a retail center anchored by Target and Albertson’s grocery store. It is also close to downtown Fullerton and has access to the master-planned community’s amenities, which include the Town Center with more than 400,000 square feet of retailers. Amerige Heights also offers two schools, Robert Fisler Elementary and Sunny Hills High School.“All of the schools that service this district are rated 10 out of 10,” Leon said. “This is very rare and helped create tremendous interest in this offering.”
Amerige Heights has a long history, founded by brothers George and Edward Amerige in 1887. Howard Hughes chose several hundres acres in the Fullterton area to be the home of a defense research facility during the Cold War, and years later the site transformed into Amerige Heights, where walkable streets, parks, shops and community buildings were built. Community planner Peter Calthorpe has provided input on the development of the community.
By Andrew Khouri
Westfield Corp. wants to turn its Promenade mall into a mixed-use community with residences, hotels and offices. (Courtesy of Westfield Corp)
Westfield Corp. plans to demolish its struggling Promenade shopping mall in Warner Center and replace it with a massive mixed-use complex with nearly 1,500 homes, two hotels and a concert venue.
The $1.5-billion project is meant to serve as a downtown district for the West San Fernando Valley and would be an extension of Westfield’s recently opened $350-million Village at Topanga “lifestyle center” across the street.
In additional to housing, plans for a new Promenade include shops, offices and a 15,000-seat arena for concerts and sports.
Also envisioned are 7 acres of open space, including a 1-acre park, known as Promenade Square that could host outdoor movie nights. “Our goal is to really transform the Promenade mall into a community destination that allows people to live, work and play all in one area,” said Larry Green, a senior vice president with Westfield.
The nearly 1,500 apartments would be spread out in several buildings and range from studio units to luxury villas, he said.
The shopping giant still needs city approvals for the redevelopment project and has launched a website to gather community support.
Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents the area, called the proposal from Westfield “an exciting prospect for the West Valley” but one that will be subject to significant community scrutiny.
Westfield Corp. wants to turn its Promenade mall into a mixed-use community with residences, hotels and offices. (Courtesy of Westfield Corp)
“It has the potential to create jobs and offer the housing that is desperately needed while ensuring that the density is kept where mass transit flows, but it must be done right,” he said in a statement.
Green said the company hopes to start construction in 2020 or 2021. The project — known as Promenade 2035 — would open in phases with a target completion date of 2035.
The redevelopment of the 34-acre site, at Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Oxnard Street, would mark a major step in an effort to expand Warner Center beyond a district dominated by office parks and towers.
In 2013, the City Council approved a new master plan for the area with the hopes of making it more pedestrian friendly, while adding additional housing and entertainment options.
Several large projects have recently opened or are underway.
Last year, Westfield opened its Village complex between the Promenade and the Westfield Topanga mall. The new open-air center features trendy restaurants, retailers, farmers market and bocce ball courts.
In August, construction workers started to demolish the old Rocketdyne plant on Canoga Avenue. The 47-acre site will give way to a high-rise "urban neighbor-hood" with 4 million square feet of homes and 1.1 million square feet of offices.
In all, nearly 1,300 Warner Center residential units have been built since 2012, said Dean Zander, a senior managing director with real estate advisory firm Berkadia. Developers are expected to break ground on another 1,200 units over the next year.
“Warner Center has proven itself as a desirable location,” Zander said.
As Warner Center has evolved though, the 43-year-old Promenade has been a drag on the neighborhood. In his statement, Blumenfield said the Promenade had become a “blighted site” subject to “intense speculation over its future”
Last year, one of the center’s few remaining tenants, The Rack bar and restaurant, described the mall as a “ghost town” in a lawsuit against Westfield. The complaint alleges the company allowed the mall to “deteriorate to a mere shadow of its former self.”
Green said Westfield did not let the Promenade fall into disrepair but noted that the closure of two Macy’s stores there last year “certainty affects the property.”
Indeed, mall owners across the country have been struggling as department stores close and consumers buy more online or increasingly spend money on dinners, concerts and other experiences rather than a new shirt.
Westfield’s response to that trend has been to pour money into its higher-end properties, creating outdoor lifestyle centers that augment traditional malls with restaurants and other leisure activities. Its Century City mall is undergoing an $800-million makeover into such a center with walking paths, gardens and a host of new eateries.
Green declined to reveal a vacancy rate for the Promenade but said some businesses remain open and will be for the “foreseeable future.” Those include AMC Theatres and Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant.
“The Promenade is not closed,” Green said. “This is the very beginning of the process.”
Weidner Apartment Homes has purchased Stonegate at Towngate, a 552-unit apartment complex in Moreno Valley, for $98.55 mil ($178k/unit) in a deal we’re told represents one of the highest prices for a single asset market rate sale in the Inland Empire in the past year. The property was sold by San Diego-based Davlyn Investments Inc, who acquired the community just after it was completed in 2007.
Located in the Towngate master-planned neighborhood, the property is located at 12640 Memorial Way Dr, just southeast of the Hwy 60 and I-215 interchange. Stonegate at Towngate sits across the street from over 2.3 msf of commercial space including the Moreno Valley Mall and four associated retail centers. It is just minutes from two multi-billion dollar business parks being developed or planned within Moreno Valley.
Stonegate at Towngate is the largest apartment community in Moreno Valley and the 12th largest asset in the Inland Empire, boasting some of the most generous unit sizes and most complete amenity packages within the market. Tenants enjoy amenities including two pools and spas, an outdoor media lounge, a luxurious leasing office, fully-equipped fitness center, indoor and outdoor kitchens, a large clubhouse, business center and more, situated on over 26 acres of landscaped grounds.
The complex offers mostly two- and three-bedroom units, averaging nearly 1.1k sf in size. The units feature in-suite washer/dryers, central air, nine-foot ceilings, private patios or balconies and many include a private garage as well.
Dean Zander and Spencer Scott with Berkadia represented the seller in the transaction. Weidner is out of Kirkland, WA. Berkadia also arranged the new 75% LTV acquisition financing.
According to Zander, “Stonegate represented a strategic value-add opportunity; with only one-third of the units upgraded to some degree. Minimal additional interior upgrades will allow the buyer to achieve a significant rent premium over the current rental rates, while maintaining very strong occupancy.”
According to Realfacts Inc, the average apartment market rent in Moreno Valley has increased more than 7% over the last 12 months while maintaining one of the highest occupancy rates in the Inland Empire at 96.8%. The City of Moreno Valley reports an inventory of less than 2,400 approved multifamily units and AXIOMetrics Inc currently reports no construction activity. Rents are expected to increase further as the market struggles to meet the housing needs of the expanding population.
MORENO VALLEY, CALIF. — Weidner Apartment Homes has acquired the 552-unit Stonegate at Towngate apartments in Moreno Valley for $98.5 million. The community is located at 12640 Memorial Way Drive, just southeast of the Highway 60 and Interstate 215 interchange. Stonegate at Towngate is the largest apartment community in Moreno Valley and the 12th largest asset in the Inland Empire. Berkadia’s Dean Zander and Spencer Scott represented the seller, Davlyn Investments Inc., in this transaction. Davlyn purchased the asset just after it was completed in 2007.