Vornado shedding its last LA property, Santa Monica lawmakers target foreign hotel investors and more…

Los Angeles briefs

Aug.August 01, 2017 11:00 AM

Steve Roth

Vornado selling its last L.A. asset

Vornado Realty Trust’s exit from Los Angeles is almost complete.

The company is in contract to sell its 243,000-square-foot Class A office property at 800 Corporate Pointe in Culver City to Northwood Investors for approximately $150 million, or $599 per square foot. Neither buyer nor seller was available to confirm the transaction, but one source familiar with the deal said the price was “astonishing” for the area.

The site is the last remaining L.A. property owned by Vornado, which paid $69.2 million for the complex in 2012, public records show.

The building is 98 percent leased by tenants including Ares Management and Thomson Reuters. However, more than 20 percent of the tenants have leases that expire next year, meaning Northwood could hike below-market rents at that point.

“Roth is trying to simplify the company, make it more manageable, more focused and easier to understand,” Sandler O’Neill analyst Alex Goldfarb said of Vornado CEO Steve Roth when the building first came on the market in October. “Having two or three random investments in L.A. doesn’t help that at all.”

Former NKF exec wants his sexual harassment accuser unmasked

Former Newmark Knight Frank executive Michael Arnold, who is being sued for sexual harassment, wants the identity of his accuser revealed.

His attorney, Tara-Jane Flynn, filed a motion last month arguing that Arnold and his family are “handcuffed from defending their reputation.”

The anonymous woman, “Jane Doe,” alleged that she was repeatedly sexually harassed, ogled and even stalked by senior executives at NKF’s Los Angeles offices. Arnold’s filing requests the dismissal of the case, contending that Doe didn’t go through the proper legal procedures before filing suit — namely, that she didn’t obtain “right-to-sue” letters from the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing for all the defendants before taking to the courts.

Doe’s attorney Mark Geragos, who has represented celebrities such as Michael Jackson, said, “These obvious and pathetic legal tactics confirm that both Arnold and his employer and legal team need to be taught a lesson.”

Arnold left NKF last November, landing at NAI Global.

Santa Monica Beach Hotel

Full disclosure in Santa Monica

As concerns rise over foreign money entering the hospitality business, Santa Monica city officials voted unanimously to have its lawyers draft legislation that would force hotels to disclose their ownership.

Hospitality labor union leaders voiced concern when China’s Anbang Insurance Group purchased the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel last year, part of its $6.5 billion buy of Strategic Hotels and Resorts Inc. from Blackstone Group. Santa Monica’s largest union, Unite Here Local 11, hopes to prevent a conversion of the beachside resort into condominiums, similar to what the Chinese insurer is doing with the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

Santa Monica  City Council member Kevin McKeown proposed the disclosure motion with the support of the union, claiming the city would lose jobs and revenue from its 14 percent occupancy tax to the potential conversion. The city’s lawyers will also investigate ways to keep hotels from being converted to other uses.

Supporters of the disclosure motion  cited recent events — including Anbang backing out of negotiations to redevelop Kushner Companies’ 666 Fifth Avenue in New York and dropping out of a $13 billion-plus bid to acquire Starwood Hotels and Resorts — as proof of the need for transparency.

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