SAN DIEGO—Bixby Land Co. has purchased fouroffice buildings here in two separate transactionstotaling $21.8 million with plans to invest $16.5 million inrenovating them as creative-office space. Theinvestments mark the firm's ongoing focus of developing innovativeworkplace designs in select markets throughout California.

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The first purchase was Mira Mesa Business Park,a 58,701-square-foot, three-building office park in the SorrentoMesa submarket, one of the premier technology submarkets in SanDiego. The project was purchased from 5889 Oberlin DriveAssociates for $9.3 million, and Bixby plans to invest$6.5 million to completely redesign it. LynnLaChapelle and Bob Prendergast ofJLL represented the seller in the transaction.

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New glazing, lobbies, upgraded elevators and a full landscapingand signage renovation will be completed on the property over thenext six months. The development will also includethree separate Bixby Retreat outdoor amenitiesareas, a feature that Bixby has pioneered in Silicon Valley andthat has proved to be in high demand by tenants.

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The second transaction involved a four-story, 76,315-square-footoffice building at 9797 Aero Dr. in the KearnyMesa submarket here, for which Bixby paid $12.5 million. Theunnamed seller was represented by Thomas Mercer,Derek Hulse and Ty Moffatt ofColliers International. The building features goodaccess and high visibility to the I-15 freeway and was vacant atthe time of sale.

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Bixby is planning a $10-million repositioningthat includes the addition of 15,783 square feet of new officespace, as well as the Bixby Retreat, an energetic outdoor livingroom with numerous amenities.

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According to Bill Halford, president and CEO ofBixby, “These are both outstanding opportunities to developinnovative space in excellent markets where demand is high.”

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Halford adds that companies place a premium on work environmentswhere their employees can enjoy the outdoors without having toleave the property. “Our designs offer that experience, with highlyamenitized outside areas that are a perfect fit for San Diego'sactive lifestyle.”

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Bixby's office-development strategy has involved meeting thelifestyle needs of today's companies, including contemporarydesigns and amenities that more closely convey the ambiance of aboutique luxury hotel than a conventional officebuilding. Halford says his firm tends to “put more emphasis ondesign than many of our competitors. Tenants are more apt to focuson a better product than on price. We learned in Silicon Valleythat there are a disproportionate number of firms that want thebest product, and we think that expectation is equally prevalent inSan Diego.”

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The firm has invested more than $400 million in 30 buildingsthroughout California over the past three years, includingcreative-office developments in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles andOrange County. These most recent acquisitions signal the company'scontinuing interest in the San Diego area. GlobeSt.com was unableto reach Bixby before deadline to discuss the similarities anddifferences between the Northern and Southern Californiacreative-office markets.

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As GlobeSt.com reported in August, the newamenities currently coming out of theoffice sector are curiously similar to those inthe apartment sector. Halford told us with threeoffice projects currently in the developmentpipeline, including the 405,000-square-foot LakePark project in Santa Clara and two buildings in OrangeCounty, and the recent $52.1-mllion sale of recently repositioned office complex in SanJose, his firm was “actively seeking new opportunitiesto create innovative workplaces for the widening market of tenantsthat demand more from their office space.”

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Carrie Rossenfeld

Carrie Rossenfeld is a reporter for the San Diego and Orange County markets on GlobeSt.com and a contributor to Real Estate Forum. She was a trade-magazine and newsletter editor in New York City before moving to Southern California to become a freelance writer and editor for magazines, books and websites. Rossenfeld has written extensively on topics including commercial real estate, running a medical practice, intellectual-property licensing and giftware. She has edited books about profiting from real estate and has ghostwritten a book about starting a home-based business.