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LOS ANGELES-Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. has paid $67.2-million for a 239,086-sf office building in El Segundo, marking one of the highest prices ever paid for a South Bay commercial project.

The building, Continental Grand Plaza II, stands at 400 Continental Ave. It was built in 1999 and is fully leased to tenants including e-business giant BroadVision Inc., which took 22,500 sf of space in the development last November in a seven-year deal valued at $5 million.

The seller is a joint venture of New Jersey-based REIT Mack-Cali Realty Corp. and privately held Highridge Partners. The JV developed the project with management help from Summit Commercial Properties Inc., an affiliate of El Segundo-based Highridge.

Continental Grand Plaza II was the last LA-area building owned by Mack-Cali. “We look forward to reinvesting the proceeds from this sale to continue to build our presence in our core markets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions,” says CEO Mitchell E. Hersh.

Indeed, the bulk of the REIT’s holdings are in the Northeast. The company has a 28.5-million sf portfolio, mostly comprised of office and flex-tech projects.

Problems in El Segundo’s technology sector have helped to push office vacancy rates in the area to 8.3% from 5.7% a year ago, according to a report by CB Richard Ellis. Nonetheless, the brokerage says, average asking rents have jumped to $2.53 psf from $2.23 in mid-2000.

The sellers were represented by Steve Silk and Jay Borzi of LA-based Secured Capital.

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