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CYPRESS, CA-TA Associates Realty of Newport Beach has purchased the 109,190-sf Plaza PacifiCare office project for $14.7 million, according to Grubb & Ellis.

The five-story, steel-frame building, which is located at 5995 Plaza Dr., was 100% leased at the time of sale. TA Associates acquired the building, which was completed in 1986, from the Washington, DC-based CarrAmerica real estate investment trust.

Both the buyer and the seller were represented by Kevin Shannon, Scott Schumacher and Michael Moore of the South Bay office of Grubb & Ellis in Torrance and Bryon Ward of the Grubb & Ellis Newport Beach office.

The sale of the office property comes at a time when Grubb & Ellis and other real estate service firms are reporting some signs of increasing momentum in the Orange County office market. The firm’s report on third-quarter trends in the county says “that despite lingering recessional trends,” the county office sector “was buoyed by competitive asking lease rates combined with steady job growth.” Grubb & Ellis pegged the vacancy rate for Orange County office space at 14.2% in the third quarter, down from 15.7% the previous quarter and 16% a year ago. The improvement has been too little to make leasing rates budge, however, with asking rates sticking at $2.23 per sf per month for class A space and $1.81 per sf for class B space.

The class A segment accounted 566,723 sf of the 637,150 sf of absorption for the quarter, a figure that was up from a mere 97,161 in the third quarter last year. Class B space in this year’s third quarter accounted for 92,634 sf of absorption. The Grubb & Ellis report notes that year-to-date net absorption topped one million sf for the first time since the middle of 2000. The flex office market also posted positive absorption of 74,277 sf for the third quarter and 204,564 sf for the year.

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