UBS lists Corporate Center Pasadena with Eastdil Secured

Area experts say one of the four buildings could be redeveloped

Corporate Center Pasadena at 251 South Lake Avenue (credit: Corporate Center Pasadena)
Corporate Center Pasadena at 251 South Lake Avenue (credit: Corporate Center Pasadena)

UBS has owned the Corporate Center Pasadena for as long as some brokers have been in the business. But the Zurich-based company seems to have decided the time is right in the market to sell.

It quietly listed the four-building, 600,000-square-foot office complex at 251 S. Lake Avenue this month with Eastdil Secured, sources said. Recent comps in the area — including CBRE Global Investors’ purchase last year of the Pasadena Towers up the street for $256 million, or $537 per square foot — indicate it could sell in the $500 per-square-foot range. That would equate to more than $300 million.

The complex, which spans a full city block, is 88 percent leased by tenants that include Dignity Health and California Credits Group, CoStar data shows. The asking rent is roughly $3.30 per square foot per month, according to CoStar. CBRE leases the property.

UBS acquired the building in 1990, according to title documents.

Despite the fact that Pasadena is a relatively flat market for leasing — core tenants like Jacobs Engineering and Avery Dennison moved out of the city in recent years, rent growth is not as high as it is in Hollywood or the Westside and there is sizable vacancy at 13.5 percent (not including subleased space) — its buildings still trade high, said Nico Vilgiate of Colliers, who is not involved in the listing.

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“Our values for office buildings are the highest they’ve ever been historically,” Vilgiate said. “However, in 2007, right before the global financial crash, Pasadena’s vacancy was about five percent, and rents then were almost where they are today, when vacancy is almost three times as high. Pasadena gets high price-per-square-foot sales but rent and occupancy are not hitting the cover off ball compared to other markets like Playa Vista.”

An advantage at the Corporate Center, Vilgiate said, is that it is comprised of many smaller leases in the 5,000 to 30,000 square foot range — protecting it from problems experienced at other buildings, which have large spaces that do not suit the trend toward office downsizing.

A new owner might consider attempting to obtain a conditional use permit to redevelop the smallest building in the complex into a taller mixed-use structure, Vilgiate said. The 45,000-square-foot building at 283 S. Lake is the only one that is not mid- or high-rise.

It is unknown whether development potential is being used to market the property. Representatives of Eastdil and UBS could not be reached for comment.