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Blackstone Takes 36% Hit on Griffin Towers


Blackstone’s efforts to trim its southern California portfolio continue with the recent unloading of two office buildings in Santa Ana, Calif. Specifically, the 560,000-square-foot Griffin Towers at 5 and 6 Hutton Centre Drive recently changed hands for $82 million, or about $146 per square foot.

Newmark mediated the negotiation for both sides. Kevin Shannon and Paul Jones of Newmark represented Blackstone, while David Milestone and Henry Cassiday secured debt financing for the buyer, which is a joint venture between Barker Pacific Group (BPG) and Kingsbarn Realty Capital.

Following the deal, Blackstone took a 36% hit on its investment in the two 14-story buildings. The New York-based asset manager had previously acquired Griffin Towers for $129 million from Lincoln Property Company and Angelo Gordon in 2014 in what was the largest commercial sale of the Orange County market. Even more surprisingly, the value of the two properties during this recent transaction was even lower than it was in their 2010 sale on the tail end of the financial crisis, when it still fetched $89.9 million.

Similarly, earlier this year, Blackstone and a consortium of other investors sold 9911 Pico Boulevard — a 250,000-square-foot building between Century City and Beverly Hills that was fully vacant at the time. Foreshadowing Blackstone’s move, LaSalle divested from its investment at neighboring 4 Hutton Centre Drive in March, taking a 55% hit on the 217,000-square-foot property.

“While there are market challenges for owners of office buildings, we believe in the future of high-quality office environments with great locations and robust amenities, which Griffin Towers offers its tenants,” said BPG’s Mark Handin.

Built in 1987, the property features a fitness center and a six-story parking structure near John Wayne Airport and the 55 and 405 freeways. With an occupancy rate of roughly 76%, the tenant roster currently includes the likes of UKG, Michael Baker International, Psomas, Nations Direct Mortgage, HNTB and the Ayn Rand Institute.

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