The Real Deal New York

National market report

Commercial and residential real estate news briefs from around the U.S.

October 04, 2011
By Katherine Clarke

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles skyline

Pop icon Christina Aguilera has sold her four-bedroom California mansion at a loss of more than $300,000, according to the blog RealEstalker. The Grammy winner and “The Voice” judge purchased the Hollywood Hills home for $5 million in 2003 and renovated it. She put it back on the market in April 2008 with a listing price of $7.9 million, but sold it last month for just $4.65 million. The identity of the buyer was not immediately clear. alternate text
Christina Aguilera
The Sunset Strip pad, which she once shared with now ex-husband Jordan Bratman, features a recording studio and pool. Aguilera and Bratman announced their separation in October. Meanwhile, home prices in Southern California fell in August from 2010 levels, marking a sixth consecutive month of declines as sales of low-priced properties dominate the market, according to tracking firm Data Quick. The median home price in the area was $279,000, a 3.1 percent drop from $288,000 in August 2010 and a 1.4 percent drop from $283,000 in July. Sales of homes under $300,000 rose 10.2 percent, however.

Washington, D.C.

Teachers’ retirement fund TIAA-CREF last month paid $145.5 million for a 303,262-square-foot property in the Washington, D.C., area. In what called a “no-brainer” deal, TIAA-CREF paid about $480 per square foot for the fully leased, 19-story building at 1616 North Fort Myer Drive. The federal General Services Administration is the anchor tenant at the building, which is located in the Rosslyn submarket, across the Potomac River from D.C. Cassidy Turley represented the seller, an affiliate of Beacon Capital Partners, GlobeSt said. Boston-based Beacon bought the property for $103 million more than it traded for 15 years ago.

New Orleans

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum, or SoFAB, will relocate from Riverwalk Marketplace near the French Quarter to a historic building in the Central City neighborhood, the Houston Chronicle reported. The museum, which showcases New Orleans’ culinary culture, is partnering with the Washington, D.C.-based real estate development firm Thoron to renovate a 30,000-square-foot building at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, the site of the former Dryades Street Market. Thoron is planning a total of three mixed-use developments in the area. “The plan is to have a really big open space that allows us to have exhibits that talk about the food of the whole South and not just Louisiana,” museum founder and president Liz Williams told the Chronicle. The move is slated for 2013.


JCPenney is returning to downtown Seattle after departing almost 30 years ago, according to the Seattle Times. The department store is reportedly planning to open a store in the Kress building at Third Avenue and Pike Street, a block from the location it closed in the early 1980s. At the time, its operators decided it was too far from the center of downtown retail activity. Evidently times have changed; brokers say retail in the area is now expanding. Two blocks away from the Kress building is Men’s Wearhouse, while Swedish retailer H&M opened in 2008 at Sixth and Pike. Though JCPenney would not comment on the rumors, city records show that the owner of the 87-year-old Kress property has applied for a permit to change its use from office and health club to department store. “We have some smaller stores on the horizon that we’ll be opening in some urban areas,” JCPenney’s outgoing chief executive, Myron Ullman, recently told Women’s Wear Daily. “It’s a function of where the customers live and what their appetite for apparel is.”

San Francisco

The real estate investment firm Archstone has acquired a 3.15-acre development site in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, the company announced last month. Archstone is planning a 467-unit rental apartment community on the parcel, which is located at the corner of 16th and 7th streets along Southern Embarcadero Freeway. Construction is slated to begin next summer. “The Potrero Hill neighborhood is one of San Francisco’s most sought-after communities today,” said Neil Brown, Archstone’s chief development officer, in a statement. “Like much of the San Francisco Bay Area, one of our core markets, opportunities to build an apartment community in Potrero Hill are extremely limited.” The area is anticipating the creation of tens of thousands of jobs from two upcoming developments: the University of California at San Francisco’s Medical Center and Hospital, and’s global headquarters, the company said.

New Jersey

Morris Bailey’s plans to take control of the state-owned Monmouth Park racetrack have stalled, the Bergen Record reported. Last month, Bailey’s attorney sent a letter to state officials declaring that a preliminary five-year deal reached in June was void. Bailey, owner of the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, was selected by the state over two other bidders to run the cash-strapped Oceanport track. A memorandum of understanding was agreed upon, but the parties were unable to meet a target of Sept. 1 to iron out the details. The track loses about $5 million a year, the Record said. Bailey had planned to transform the complex by adding additional off-track wagering facilities and expanding nontraditional betting opportunities. Dennis Robinson, the president of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, told the Record that the state is still “having discussions” with Bailey. “It’s always good if you’re talking. If you’re not talking, then you have a problem.” If talks with Bailey were to fail, Robinson said the agency would reopen discussions with previous bidders or put out a new request for proposal.

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