Los Angeles report

Los Angeles report

Aug.August 01, 2016 11:00 AM
A rendering of Playa Jefferson

A rendering of Playa Jefferson

Vantage sells Facebook’s L.A. HQ

Renovate, lease to Facebook, then sell high. That’s what Vantage Property Investors did with Playa Jefferson, the five-building, 250,000-square-foot creative office campus in the Playa Vista area that’s home to Facebook’s largest office in Los Angeles. The buyer, Rockwood Capital, paid $165 million for the property.

The sale came shortly after Facebook inked a deal to occupy 50,000 square feet there earlier this year.

Originally constructed in the early 1970s, Playa Jefferson is known for its landscaped open space, recreation areas and a dramatic 50-foot high atrium connecting four low-rise buildings.

Architecture firm Gensler redesigned the complex on behalf of Vantage, which bought it in 2011 for $35 million. Plans to develop a sixth building on the campus — a three-story, 55,000-square-foot structure on the east side of the site — will still go ahead, sources said.

Values in Playa Vista have been driven up by a handful of high-profile lease deals. The $16 billion co-working company WeWork recently leased at least 75,400 square feet in Playa Vista, just down the block from Playa Jefferson. Tech giant Google also recently inked a deal to lease a 319,000-square-foot former aircraft hangar on South Campus Center Drive, upping its footprint in an area where it also owns 12 acres of yet-to-be-developed land.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow

Airbnb plans glitzy gala as it begins to collect hotel tax

It’s either awkward timing or an expert diversion. Airbnb will throw its annual gala in Downtown Los Angeles this year — with a star-studded guest speaker list that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher and “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert. The November soiree was announced the same week as the revelation that, as part of a deal with L.A. officials, Airbnb will start collecting hotel taxes from rental hosts, generating millions in annual revenue for the city.

Angelenos who use Airbnb were already supposed to pay the same kind of lodging taxes as hotels, but laws have been hard to enforce. Now Airbnb will collect the taxes itself and turn them over to the city. 

The hotel tax agreement comes at a time when Airbnb is hoping the city government will grant it mercy. The L.A. City Planning Commission recently approved a set of strict limits and regulations on Airbnb and its home-rental cohorts, including the prohibition of non-primary residences and pricey fines when a rule is broken.

A rendering of a Metropolis exterior

A rendering of a Metropolis exterior

Greenland wants to woo NYC buyers

Looking beyond the West Coast’s nouveau riche, the Chinese developer behind a massive Downtown Los Angeles project plans to court condo buyers in New York.

Greenland USA, whose billion-dollar Metropolis project is the biggest development under construction in Los Angeles, recently filed a request to market 51 Phase II condos to buyers and investors in the Big Apple.

Once both phases are complete in 2018, Metropolis will have three condo towers with 1,500 condo units in total, a 19-story boutique hotel and plenty of retail space.

So far, a significant portion of Metropolis buyers have come from outside of L.A. Greenland sold 65 percent of the units in its first construction phase, a large portion of which were bought by Chinese investors. Reports of the all-cash deals from overseas cast doubt on the volume of native foot traffic that will exist in the completed development.

After all, when Los Angeles locals look for luxury, they typically look to the Westside.

“For the most part, even L.A. people who work downtown prefer to live west of it,” Nourmand & Associates’ Gavin Fleminger said. “Targeting New Yorkers is a smart move, because if New Yorkers move to L.A., they’d be much more comfortable [than Angelenos] in the downtown, urban setting.”


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