The Real Deal Los Angeles

Compass signs lease for 12K sf at Playhouse Plaza in Pasadena

New office will focus on Chinese buyers in San Gabriel Valley and hipsters on the Eastside

April 27, 2016 03:52PM
By Hannah Miet

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Leah Sternberg Compass

Leah Sternberg of Compass and the Playhouse Plaza building at 680 East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena

Tech-focused real estate brokerage Compass just signed a lease for its newest Los Angeles office, which will focus on both the San Gabriel Valley and the hip enclaves of L.A.’s Eastside.

Compass, which opened its first California office in Beverly Hills late last year, signed a lease for 12,000 square feet in Pasadena’s Playhouse Plaza building at 680 East Colorado Boulevard. Its space is under construction, with a move-in date expected in several months.

Industry veteran Leah Sternberg, who joined the firm from Coldwell Banker, will head up the office. She said 30 agents have been hired so far, and more are on the way. The space is being configured to accommodate 100 employees. Recent hires include mother and son team Linda and Brent Chang, who Compass also poached from Coldwell Banker earlier this year.

The duo specializes in working with Asian homebuyers and investors, who have flocked to the affluent San Marino area of the San Gabriel Valley in recent years. In fact, Chinese investors are one of the reasons Compass picked the SGV as its next expansion area.

“The San Gabriel Valley is a market where a lot of Chinese cash has been placed in the last ten years,” Sternberg said. “It also has a lot of luxury markets: San Marino, Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge.”

In addition to taking on the SGV, agents in the Pasadena office will sell homes in hot markets on the Eastside of Los Angeles — Silver Lake and Eagle Rock among them. Top Eastside agent Tracy Do has been hired as part of that effort.

“It’s fun blending the history of Pasadena with the hipster and up-and-coming East L.A. market into one office,” Sternberg said.

The Playhouse Plaza is one of Pasadena’s newest office buildings. Tenants including Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Charles Schwab and EpicSpaces Co-Working. Average rent at the 155,000-square-foot Class A office building is $45 a square foot a year ($3.75 a square foot a month), according to CoStar.

This will be Compass’ third Southern California location. Last month, the firm more than doubled its Beverly Hills footprint, taking the entire fourth floor at 9454 Wilshire Boulevard. In February, Compass inked a lease for 4,400 square feet at 1283 Coast Village Circle in Montecito.