Bren’s Irvine Co. in record territory at $2.7M per unit for Santa Monica apartments

Douglas Emmett acquires 1221 Ocean Ave., a luxe building favored by celebrities

Irvine's Donald Bren and Douglas Emmett's Jordan Kaplan with 1221 Ocean Avenue (Irvine Company, UCLA Anderson school, 1221 Ocean Avenue)
Irvine's Donald Bren and Douglas Emmett's Jordan Kaplan with 1221 Ocean Avenue (Irvine Company, UCLA Anderson school, 1221 Ocean Avenue)

The Irvine Company might have gotten a record price with its $330 million sale of a Santa Monica apartment complex to publicly traded real estate investment trust Douglas Emmet.

The REIT acquired the 120-unit complex at 1221 Ocean Ave., on April 26th, according to recent public filings. The price came to about $2.7 million per unit, or $1,800-per-square-foot.

A 38-unit complex property that is also on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica and sold in October for $70 million—or about $1.8 million per unit—was among the priciest deal on record for California, according to CBRE and local media reports.

Douglas Emmett, which keeps its headquarters a few blocks down Ocean Avenue in the seaside city, partnered with an unidentified company to acquire the building. Public filings indicate the REIT owns 55 percent of the joint venture, which was created to acquire the 16-store building. The joint venture obtained a $175 million secured, non-recourse interest-only loan that matures in 2029, according documents. Eastdil Securities reportedly served as an adviser on the deal.

Douglas Emmett did not return an email requesting comment. Irvine Company and Eastdil Securities also did not return requests for comment.

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1221 Ocean cultivated a reputation as being an address for celebrities. Britney Spears, Larry David and The Rock were said to have lived in the building with a rooftop amenity deck and with an average unit size of 1,500-square-feet.

Douglas Emmett also owns two other high-end Santa Monica apartment buildings, as well as six apartment buildings in Los Angeles’ exclusive Brentwood neighborhood, as well as one apartment building in Westwood, near University of California, Los Angeles. The company also runs the Gateway Los Angeles and Warner Center Tower II office buildings in Los Angeles.

The deal leaves Donald Bren’s Newport-based Irvine Co., a seminal developer in Orange County, with no residential holdings in Los Angeles,. It currently owns a few office buildings in the Los Angeles market, including a tower at 2121 Avenue of the Stars in Century City, where former President Ronald Reagan kept offices.

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