PALO ALTO, CA—Spokesmen for publicly traded Essex Property Trust Inc. said this week is has acquired a three-acre site in Irvine that could hold a 138-unit apartment community. Essex acquired the site for a contract price of $3.8 million. Construction will begin following the project-predevelopment process, expected to take approximately nine months.

As a condition to the acquisition, an affiliate of Essex acquired a 110,000-sf office building located adjacent to the development site for a contract price of $14.6 million. Essex has entered into a non-binding letter of intent with a local developer that provides, in part, for the contribution of the office building to a newly formed joint venture, which will implement the leasing and occupancy of the property.

In connection with the transaction, Essex will loan the venture up to a total of $19.5 million, which includes tenant improvement expenditures, leasing commissions, and carry costs, in the form of straight and participating mortgage debt, guaranteed by the local developer. Essex (NYSE:ESS) currently has ownership interests in 75 multifamily properties (16,431 units) and has 944 units in various stages of development.

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