What’s new: Hotel Lulu opens across from Disneyland; 2 Surf City buildings sell for $35.5M

A boutique hotel owned by Best Western has opened its doors and pool in the Disneyland Resort district.

Hotel Lulu opened its doors May 14 as pandemic restrictions loosened. It has 310 guestrooms, a restaurant called Lulu’s Kitchen; quick bites at Lulu’s Coffee, an outdoor pool; a fitness center and meeting and event space.

The hotel is managed by Azul Hospitality Group, a San Diego-based hospitality company owned by J Street Hospitality, also in San Diego.

“This new hotel exudes the fun-loving energy of Anaheim; with everything travelers may need to kick back and relax after a day of adventures,” said hotel manager John Chan.

Hotel Lulu in Anaheim opened May 14 not far from the Disneyland Resort complex and the Anaheim Convention Center. The hotel has 310 guestrooms, Lulu’s Kitchen, Lulu’s Coffee, a pool, fitness center; meeting and event space; and a Disneyland Insiders team. The hotel is managed by Azul Hospitality Group in San Diego. Hotel Lulu is part of Best Western’s boutique hotels. (Courtesy of Hotel Lulu and Azul Hospitality Group)

Some of the amenities include

  • Arts and crafts for kids at the pool (which has a bar for the parents).
  • Guests can grab a floatie and a drink while watching a movie from the pool. (This is seasonal with weather permitting).

Address: 1850 S. Harbor Blvd.

Two leased industrial buildings in Huntington Beach have been sold to Crown Associates Realty of Beverly Hills for $35.2 million, according to CBRE. (Courtesy of CBRE)

Surf City industrial sales net $35.3M

Two leased industrial buildings in Huntington Beach have been sold to Crown Associates Realty of Beverly Hills for $35.2 million, according to CBRE.

The first property is a 60,891-square-foot building on nearly 3 acres at 15301 Springdale St. The two-story property is the headquarters for Vispero, a provider of assistive technology for the visually impaired.

The second property is a 61,389-square-foot building on 3.3 acres at 15461 Springdale St. The two-story property was built in 1976 and is home to Applied Computer Solutions, an IT services management company.

CBRE’s Jeff Carr negotiated the sale on behalf of the buyer. The seller, Sares Regist Group, was represented by CBRE’s Brad Bierbaum and Gary Stache.

A 16,554 square-foot corporate property at 17660 Cowan in Irvine has been sold to Mesa Church, which will convert it into a worship center. DAUM Commercial Real Estate Services represented Mesa Church, which said the conversion should begin in the coming months.

Church moving to office site in Irinve

A 16,554 square-foot corporate property at 17660 Cowan in Irvine has been sold to Mesa Church, which will convert it into a worship center.

DAUM Commercial Real Estate Services represented Mesa Church, which said the conversion should begin in the coming months.

“When seeking well-located space in tight markets like Orange County, users and brokers alike must be increasingly nimble and creative,” said Charlie Winn with DAUM.

Winn said the 70-year-old Mesa Church, first launched in Costa Mesa, has been based on the campus of Vanguard University.

The church hopes its Irvine facility will be open for Easter service next year.

Alere Property Group in Newport Beach has bought a 47,000-square-foot warehouse at 14422 Astronautics Drive in Huntington Beach. The building is leased by Terrible Herbst Motorsports. No terms on the deal were provided. (Courtesy of Alere)

2 industrial properties sold

Alere Property Group in Newport Beach has acquired two existing industrial buildings in Orange County in separate transactions.

No terms of those transactions were provided.

The firm bought a 120,000-square-feet industrial property in Irvine on 5.2 acres previously owned and occupied by Ricoh USA. Ricoh recently pulled up stakes in Orange County, shifting its operations to the Inland Empire.

Alere said it will redevelop the site with the project expected to finish by 2023.

The real estate developer also bought a 47,000-square-foot warehouse at 14422 Astronautics Drive in Huntington Beach. The building is leased by Terrible Herbst Motorsports.

“The McGaw and Astronautics properties fit well into Alere’s long-term investment approach and strengthen its west Orange County portfolio, which now totals over 750,000 square feet of industrial space,” said Alan Carmichael with Alere Property Group. “These acquisitions complement the portfolio’s mix of large format properties and medium-sized buildings ranging from 20,000 to 70,000 square feet.”

A self-storage facility at 6990 Noritsu Ave. in Buena Park with 688 units has been sold by the joint venture between Baranof Holdings and a fund advised by Crow Holdings Capital. Terms were not disclosed. (Courtesy of Baranof Holdings)

Self-storage property sold in BP

A self-storage facility at 6990 Noritsu Ave. in Buena Park with 688 units has been sold.

The transaction included three other properties in Inglewood (638 units), Hayward (900 units) and Shoreline (857 units) in Washington state sold by the joint venture between Baranof Holdings and a fund advised by Crow Holdings Capital.

Terms were not disclosed. Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller. The buyer was Public Storage Inc. a self-storage real estate investment trust.

IHP Capital Partners in Newport Beach and Värde Partners have formed a joint venture to acquire the remaining 3,721 acres of land for development within Vistancia, a 7,100-acre master-planned community in Peoria, Ariz. Vistancia is in the Phoenix metropolitan area of Peoria roughly 35 miles from downtown Phoenix.

Buying outside CA

IHP Capital Partners in Newport Beach and Värde Partners have formed a joint venture to acquire the remaining 3,721 acres of land for development within Vistancia, a 7,100-acre master-planned community in Peoria, Ariz.

Terms of the acquisition were not provided.

The transaction includes 3,300 entitled homes within the Northpointe at Vistancia community and 370 acres of commercial mixed-use development.

Vistancia is in the Phoenix metropolitan area of Peoria roughly 35 miles from downtown Phoenix.

Nicole Byron has joined the DiGonzini Group as the operations manager in the firm’s Lake Forest office, which also services the company’s office in La Quinta. Byron has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Maine and has spent the past 3 years in operations management in the health and wellness industry. She also holds a real estate license. The DiGonzini Group is part of the Keller Williams International.

People in real estate

Nicole Byron has joined the DiGonzini Group as the operations manager in the firm’s Lake Forest office, which also services the company’s office in La Quinta. The DiGonzini Group is part of the Keller Williams International. Byron has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Maine and has spent the past 3 years in operations management in the health and wellness industry. She also holds a real estate license.

Leonard Miller, president and CEO of The New Home Company in Aliso Viejo, has been awarded City of Hope’s 2021 Spirit of Life Award. The award is given to industry leaders who have made “a significant commitment to support those in need,” City of Hope says. This year, City of Hope’s Construction Industries Alliance recognized Miller for his contributions to the industry and compassion for humanity. (Photo courtesy of New Home Co.)

Milestones

Leonard Miller, president and chief executive officer of The New Home Co. in Aliso Viejo, has been awarded City of Hope’s 2021 Spirit of Life Award.

The award is given to industry leaders around the world who have made “a significant commitment to support those in need,” City of Hope says.

City of Hope’s Construction Industries Alliance recognized Miller for his contributions to the industry and compassion for humanity.

The Spirt of Life gala raised $500,000 for the hospital, which specializes in treating cancer patients.

Real estate transactions, leases and new projects, industry hires, new ventures and upcoming events are compiled from press releases by contributing writer Karen Levin. Submit items and high-resolution photos via email to Business Editor Samantha Gowen at sgowen@scng.com. Please allow at least a week for publication. All items are subject to editing for clarity and length.

Remodeling? Consider recycling cabinets, appliances

If you plan ahead when remodeling the kitchen and/or bathrooms, consider a complete win-win by donating instead of completely demolishing the things you are replacing, removing or improving.

Nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, Goodwill and the Salvation Army accept gently used appliances, furniture, building materials and household goods.

Here’s a brief rundown on the various items you can choose to donate, either out of concern for the planet by keeping your unwanted items out of the landfill or for others less fortunate than you who would be happy to receive these hand-me-downs.

Cabinets

Make sure whoever is removing cabinets to make room for the newer version handles the old with extreme care. Be sure all the boxes, doors and drawers are removed without damaging the appearance or the function of these pieces. Also, make sure drawers still have all of the necessary parts to work effectively.

It shouldn’t matter if you’ve removed the handles and pulls, just don’t damage the pieces when you remove the designer hardware you had before Kitchen 2.0. Store them in a protected area until the receiving organization picks them up or you arrange to have them dropped off. This is especially important if you are doing a remodel during inclement weather. The last thing you’d want is to destroy items so carefully removed by leaving them outside in the rain or gusty winds.

Appliances

If your oven(s), stove, gas cooktop, dishwasher and refrigerator are in good working order when replacing them, find one of those nonprofits near you that accepts such donations. If you are replacing them — either during a remodel or because they no longer work — you can also recycle them as an alternative to the landfill.

The same process – reuse or recycle – can be done for sinks and toilets.

Interior and exterior doors

Going for the charming and trendy split Dutch door? Or maybe you’ll be replacing sliding glass doors with retractable/disappearing glass doors along the back of the house? Look for an organization that will take your gently removed throwaways.

Door handles

Regardless of whether you’re doing complete remodel and changing out all of your door and cabinet hardware or just updating the look of your home with a very cost-effective accessory, your unwanted door handles and cabinet pulls can find a new home.

According to the limited research I conducted, it is suggested you put each handle and its related hardware, nuts and screws into individual baggies, so the next owner has all of the parts in one place.

Think ahead before you move ahead with your home improvement projects and you may be able to improve someone else’s home and be kind to the planet. Just make sure your contractor, handyman or other designated demolition expert is on board with your plan.

Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is an agent with RealtyOne Group West.  She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or leslie@leslieeskildsen.com

Why are investors buying empty buildings?

As an owner of commercial real estate, you fall into one of two categories. You either are entirely divorced from the occupant.

In other words, you have no ownership in the resident company or you do. We refer to the latter as an owner-occupant and the former as an arm’s length investor.

If we then dissect the genres of arm’s length investors – those who rely upon a tenant to pay rent – myriad classes unfold.

The folks next door might own a small strip center housing a nail salon, fast food joint and an animal hospital. We’d call them a “mom and pop”.

As their holdings grow over time and more properties are acquired, so does their class. Now, they fall into the heading of a private investor.

Private investors generally use as seed capital money made from other sources such as a business, inherited wealth or savings. Thus, a private investor uses its own money to buy buildings. Sure, a bank loan might assist,  but the down payment is from a personal account.

Now, contrast the use of “your own money” to “other people’s money” and a capital market investor is identified. Capital market investors rely upon Wall Street dollars (real estate investment trusts, pension funds (California Teachers, CalPERS, State of Washington), or in some cases insurance company premiums (John Hancock, Aetna) to complete buys.

OK, with that preamble, let’s talk about a trend we’ve seen since the beginning of 2020. Investors of all types are buying empty buildings! Remember, they require rent to survive. They’re not occupying a location with their business. So, with no rent and no tenant, why is this happening? Indulge me as I proffer a few opinions.

Origination costs: Every leased parcel acquired comes at a price. Included are time on market, rent concessions, improvements and professional fees. From all these expenditures eventually comes an income stream. Currently, because available buildings are in short supply for those who need them to operate, all four categories of costs have been compressed.

It’s quite common to commence construction on a new project and have the entire square footage leased prior to completion. Time on the market evaporates! With more groups looking for space and fewer places to consider, concessions and offered improvements are slim. Consequently, it’s fairly easy these days to compute the cost of new occupancy. Plus, captured is the current market rent vs waiting on a below-market rent to catch up.

Lack of quality: A brand new and vacant building comes equipped with all the goodies – tall warehouse ceilings, ample truck loading and is in pristine condition. Those operations targeted benefit operationally with more efficiency. This appeals more to potential tenants.

Musical chairs: Akin to seven players and six chairs, competition for fully leased assets is fierce. It’s quite common for a new offering to generate multiple interested parties. Therefore prices get bid up and returns suffer. Faced with the need to deploy dollars into real estate, vacant buildings have now gained favor.

Cost and time to produce: We concluded several meetings this week with some of the largest developers of real estate in Southern California: Birtcher, Hillwood, REDA, IDIL and Blackcreek. They build ‘em, then lease or sell the finished buildings to occupants or investors.

You see, a buyer we represent was in town from the East Coast. We are trying quite diligently to find a building for our client to purchase. Good luck! We heard over and over that land prices, government overreach, environmental impact studies and increasing construction costs ALL are pinching the supply of new inventory.

Therefore, if an investor can avoid the hassle of construction and simply buy existing – even vacant – it makes good sense to do so.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at abuchanan@lee-associates.com or 714.564.7104.

Laguna Beach High celebrates its Class of 2021

Senior graduates throw their caps in the air during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduate Audrey Sutton, center, is congratulated by family and friends during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduate, Natalie Olson, hugs her mother, CristineOlson, during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
A family member holds a face poster of a senior graduate during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduate, Keller Kramer, leads graduates and attendees in the pledge of allegiance during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduate, Matthew Duong, speaks to graduates and attendees during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates listen to speeches during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduate, Audrey Sutton speaks to graduates and attendees during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates await to receive their diplomas during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates listen to speeches during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates make their way to the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates line up to walk out to the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
A senior graduate waves to family and friends during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates receive their diplomas from Principal Jason Allemann during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates receive their diplomas from Principal Jason Allemann during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates receive their diplomas from Principal Jason Allemann during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates receive diplomas during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Family members cheer on senior graduates during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Family members cheer on senior graduates during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates make their way to the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates line up to walk out to the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Senior graduates make their way to the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)
Family members cheer on senior graduates during the Laguna Beach High School graduation ceremony in Laguna Beach on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Photo by Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)

Laguna Beach High saluted its graduates in a commencement ceremony on Thursday, June 10.

The socially distanced event featured cheering families and smiling grads as they accepted their diplomas at the campus stadium.

How hot is California real estate? It got 99% of its jobs back

California’s real estate industry — powered by low mortgage rates, a homebuying binge and a construction push — is nearly back to its pre-pandemic employment levels.

When my trusty spreadsheet looked at state jobs data, 15 property-related categories had a total 2.92 million workers in April — down only 43,500 from February 2020, just before COVID-19 chilled the economy.

That means real estate jobs statewide are at 99% recovery, just shy of employment levels of late winter 2020. Note that many real estate workers are independent contractors and their jobs are not captured by official employment counts.

Compare that performance to how all other California bosses managed their staffing. The 13.3 million jobs in all other industries statewide fell by 1.3 million in 14 months. That puts the rest of California at 91% of pre-pandemic employment.

Real estate’s been so robust that three of its job categories have more workers than they did in February 2020. All are construction-related fields: Architectural/engineering, construction of buildings and building material stores.

Outside of real estate, California industries above pre-pandemic job counts include transportation and warehousing, family services, electronics manufacturing and grocery stores.

Real estate’s hardest-hit sector was leasing, which reflects the challenges landlords faced during the pandemic. Still, its workforce is at 88% of pre-virus level — nowhere near the weak rebound in California’s tourism, recreation and entertainment businesses with staffing running two-thirds of February 2020.

Clearly, real estate has played a big role in keeping the state’s economy afloat as it struggled to tame the killer virus. It will certainly be fascinating to watch how real estate does after the economy fully reopens after June 15. One potential problem: A stronger national economy could push up interest rates and alter enthusiasm for real estate investments.

Here’s how the 15 real estate job niches have fared since February 2020: Share of previous employment count, current workforce and 14-month change (ranked in order of percentage recovery) …

Real estate leasing: 88% of February 2020 — its 60,200 workers in April are down 7,900 in 14 months.

Furniture manufacturing: 89% — 29,000 workers, down 3,600.

Furniture/furnishings stores: 89% — 46,700 workers, down 5,600.

Real estate brokerages: 92% — 50,400 workers, down 4,200.

Building services: 95% — 239,400 workers, down 13,900.

Construction material wholesalers: 96% — 23,100 workers, down 1,000.

Property management: 97% — 109,600 workers, down 3,200.

Wood-product manufacturing: 98% — 25,500 workers, down 600.

Specialty trade contractors: 98% — 581,000 workers, down 11,800.

Heavy construction: 98% — 90,500 workers, down 1,500.

Construction: 99% — 882,200 workers, down 9,700.

Lending: 100% — 242,200 workers, down 900.

Architectural/engineering: 101% — 189,000 workers, up 1,200.

Construction of buildings: 102% — 210,700 workers, up 3,600.

Building material stores: 113% — 138,600 workers, up 15,600.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at jlansner@scng.com