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New York Developer Poised to Buy 8 Prime Downtown Properties

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By Jorge Casuso

December 14, 2021 -- WSC -- Santa Monica's biggest residential developer -- is expected to close on the sale of eight fully entitled sites Downtown before the end of the year, according to a source familiar with the transaction.

The New York-based developer Tishman Speyer, which owns Rockefeller Center, is "going hard," having put up "a sizable chunk" of the nearly $150 million price tag as a non-refundable down payment, the source said.

The eight properties -- which total more than 600 units -- are part of a portfolio of 23 closely knit parcels, most of them Downtown, bought by prominent Westside developer Neil Shekhter over the past decade.

The properties included in the deal with Tishman Speyer are fully entitled, having gone through Santa Monica's onerous and notoriously lengthy development process, the source said.

The WSC portfolio was listed in January by Walker & Dunlop, which touted the offering as a "generational development opportunity" ("Santa Monica Developer Offers 23 Properties for Sale," December 23, 2020).

“Never has there been an opportunity to acquire a development portfolio of this size in Southern California, never mind Santa Monica,” the sellers wrote.

According to a report in The Real Deal Tuesday, WSC -- which is controlled by Shekhter and his sons and led by CEO Scott Walter -- "is expected to hold on to the remaining 15 parcels."

The pending sale is for the parcels at 1318, 1430 and 1650 Lincoln Boulevard, 501 Broadway, 711 Colorado Avenue, 1313 6th Street, and 1323 and 1338 5th Street.

The Lookout's source called the sale "unprecedented."

"Santa Monica is an incredible market, and you have eight fully entitled buildings from one developer," the source said. "This is very unique."

According to the Real Deal, the pending sale marks Tishman Speyer’s "first major residential development play in the Los Angeles area," where the multi-family market has "soared."

The real estate giant -- which once included the Chrysler Building in New York among its holdings -- owns the 147,000-square-foot Arboretum office complex in Santa Monica.

In total, Tishman Speyer owns some 2 million square feet of office space across the LA region, according to The Real Deal.

The company made news this month when it announced it was leasing 700,000 square feet of office space in Silicon Valley to the company that owns Facebook and Instagram in what was described as the largest U.S. deal of the year.

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