National market report


Los Angeles
Los Angeles

Los Angeles

With its purchase of MPG Office Trust for $2.1 billion, Brookfield Office Properties is set to become the biggest office landlord in downtown Los Angeles, an area that is being revitalized with new apartments, hotels and restaurants, the Wall Street Journal reported. MPG, formerly Maguire Properties, owns four downtown L.A. buildings, including the KPMG Tower and the Wells Fargo Tower. With the purchase, Brookfield is betting that the city’s long-struggling downtown office market will turn around along with the larger evolution of the area, which has added more than 23,000 residents in the past few years and new attractions such as the L.A. Live entertainment center. Office vacancy in downtown L.A. was 17.9 percent in the second quarter, up from 14.7 percent three years earlier. In the same period, the city’s overall vacancy rate fell to 17.4 percent from 18.4 percent.


In a sign that Orlando is attracting more major hospitality brands, the Peabody Orlando hotel — famous for its daily parade of ducks to the lobby fountain — is being sold to Hyatt Hotels Corp. for $717 million, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Built in 1986, the hotel will be rebranded as the Hyatt Regency Orlando Convention Center, becoming the sixth Hyatt-brand hotel in the area. The Peabody deal comes less than a year after the sale of Orlando’s Gaylord Palms hotel to Marriott International. While the sales show that Orlando is attracting more big brands besides Disney, the Sentinel said, it also indicates that smaller, independent hotel companies can’t compete with big corporations. Still, the larger corporations have the potential to fill more rooms and allow Orlando hotels to raise prices, both of which would be good for the local hospitality industry and the region’s economy, the paper said.

Washington D.C.

The Trump Organization last month announced plans to invest $200 million in turning the historic Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington, D.C., into a luxury 270-room hotel, USA Today reported. The Trump International Hotel, Washington D.C. is slated for completion in 2015. The site is located on Pennsylvania Avenue between the U.S. Capitol and the White House, an area with a shortage of hotels despite its bevy of tourist attractions. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said the new Trump hotel will help define “what the hospitality industry will be on this side of Pennsylvania Avenue.” Built in 1899, the former post office currently houses a few shops and some fast food restaurants. Trump is leasing the property from the federal government for 60 years with the possibility of two 20-year extensions at a monthly rent of $250,000.


Mayor Thomas Menino last month unveiled the details of his plan to build 30,000 housing units in Boston by 2020, the Boston Globe reported. The initiative calls for six new housing projects to be built across the city. One project near the Christian Science Plaza, by Carpenter and Co. and the Pritzker Realty Group, will include a 691-foot tower with a hotel and 170 condos, and a 285-foot building with 255 apartments, along with stores and restaurants. Menino’s initiative, which would require $16.5 billion in public and private investment, also calls for subsidies to make more units affordable to middle-class buyers, and an increase in the fee developers are required to pay to fund affordable housing.

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Seattle’s growing technology sector has sparked developers to break ground on new projects amid anticipated increases in the demand for office space, the Wall Street Journal reported. More than 3 million square feet of office space is already under construction in the Seattle region, the paper said. Developer Wright Runstad & Co. last month started work on the Spring District, a 36-acre office and apartment development a short drive from downtown Seattle. The former grocery distribution center will be turned into a complex of office buildings, stores and apartments. The first structures to be built there will be two office buildings with 490,000 square feet of space.

Las Vegas

Singer Wayne Newton’s 36-acre Las Vegas estate hit the market last month for $70 million, reported. The estate, known as “Casa de Shenandoah,” has been the subject of much legal wrangling since Newton declared bankruptcy in 2010. The property contains eight separate homes.


The childhood home of singer Taylor Swift sold last month for $700,000, $99,500 under the asking price, the RedFin Blog reported. Swift moved out of the six-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot home in Wyomissing, Penn., in 2004, before moving to Tennessee to pursue her singing career, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Newport Beach

The former home of actor John Wayne is on the market for $3.95 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. Wayne owned the three-bedroom house, located on the Big Canyon Golf Course, in the 1970s. The home’s current owners purchased it in 2011 for $1.77 million.