As the Venice office market surges, an Arizona investment firm buys in

Office vacancy rates in Venice are dropping and residential rental market remains strong as new media and tech firms continue to set up shop

An aerial view of the Venice office market (Credit: iStock)
An aerial view of the Venice office market (Credit: iStock)

Real estate investment and lending firm REM Finance is heading west.

The Arizona-based company made its first acquisition in California, paying $52 million for a 47,000-square-foot flex office property in Venice, records show.

The sellers were trusts associated with Linda and Ronald Swepston, according to public records.

An entity tied REM Finance was the registered buyer of the property, located at 606-654 Venice Boulevard and 1800 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in a business park.

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REM did not return a call for comment.

Venice and Los Angeles’ West Side remain strong office markets, with vacancy rates dropping to 12.4 percent, according to a Colliers International second quarter report. Century City, Marina Del Rey/Venice and the Olympic Corridor accounted for most of the demand in the West L.A. office market, according to Colliers, with the average asking rates totalling $4.92 per square foot. Overall, the Greater L.A. office market has also performed well, due in large part to the emergence of tech and new-media tenants.

Along that busy stretch of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, retail rents have also pushed up, to $14 per square foot.

Meanwhile, Venice is also one of the city’s hottest rental residential markets, a boon for companies inking lease deals in the area. The influx of those tech firms and their young, affluent employees is driving demand and pricing.