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SAN DIEGO-DRA Advisors/Landmark Asset Management Group has recently tucked the First National Bank Center into its office portfolio, having picked up the 27-story, downtown San Diego landmark in a transaction valued at $112 million.

Encompassing 547,448 sf, the class A office tower stands at 401 West A St. Currently 90% leased, the property is home to First National Bank of San Diego, which has its corporate headquarters in the facility. Other tenants include the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association; Higgs, Fletcher & Mack LLP; PeopleFirst Finance LLC; and Star Systems Inc. Built in 1982, the towering glass building features a six-store atrium lobby with various retail and service amenities; a 4,200-sf conference center; and 360-degree views of downtown and San Diego Bay.

Jay Borzi, Adam Edwards and Steve Silk of Secured Capital Corp. acted on behalf of both the buyer and seller, San Diego Equities REIT I, in the recent transaction. San Diego Equities REIT is jointly owned by Canadian-based real estate investment, management and development firm SITQ BST-REIT LP and USAA Real Estate Co., the real estate investment arm of San Antonio, TX-based insurance and financial services company USAA.

Landmark Asset Management Group will now handle leasing and management of the First National Bank Center, with marketing efforts here spearheaded by Don Trapani of Landmark and Mark Wayne, Dan Runyon, Jim Laing and Dan Broderick of Burnham Office Consulting Partners.

San Diego’s office market continues to garner the attention of institutional investors and REITS, as reflected by last year’s sales figures. Burnham’s 2002 research shows that 47% of last year’s office sales involving assets priced at $5 million or more were to institutional investors and 25% were to REITS. The city’s class A office product is a big draw for these investment dollars, despite a slowdown in leasing activity over the past 18 months. “Institutional and REIT investors are long-term players that look for projects that will draw and retain a quality tenant mix,” says Burnham’s Runyon, explaining that San Diego’s class A properties “offer the combination, quality, location and amenities desired by established, image-conscious corporations.”

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