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LOS ANGELES, CA-Ownership and leasing of the 646,000-sf Union Bank Plaza at 445 S. Figueroa St. in downtown Los Angeles have changed with the sale of the 40-story skyscraper to Chicago-based Walton Street Capital and the switching of the leasing assignment to CB Richard Ellis from Grubb & Ellis.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but knowledgeable sources said Walton bought the property for approximately $110 million from Los Angeles-based Hertz Investment Group, which acquired it in 2001 for $88 million. Built in 1965-67 by Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., the tower was the first Bunker Hill Redevelopment Project Area building and was renovated in the mid-1990s.

The office tower was 94% leased at the time of the sale, according to Bruce Asper, listing agent on the property for CB Richard Ellis, who joined CB about 18 months ago as part of the firm’s push to win downtown L.A. leasing assignments.

The Union Bank listing represents “a big success” in gaining downtown listings, according to Lewis Horne, senior managing director for the Los Angeles region of CB Richard Ellis. “We’re very much trying to grow our landlord business downtown,” Horne tells GlobeSt.com. He says CB embarked on a concerted effort about 18 months ago to capture downtown listings.

CB was once a dominant force in downtown L.A. listings, but the company stopped pursuing the landlord business about eight years ago to focus more on the tenant side of deals. Horne says that about 18 months ago, the company “recognized that the Los Angeles office market was clearly coming back and presented opportunities” in the listing arena. It hired Asper from Jones Lang LaSalle, as well as others, and began a campaign to win listings. CB also has the property management assignment for Union Bank Plaza, Horne notes. Kelly Pucci, the building’s former general manager from Jones Lang LaSalle, joined CB in recent weeks as manager for the property.

Union Bank Plaza is the second important listings win recently for CB, which also has been contracted to handle the leasing of 400 S. Hope St. by building owner O’Melveny & Myers.

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