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EL SEGUNDO, CA-Behringer Harvard REIT I Inc. of Texas has paid $27.5 million for a 150,495-sf office building on 9.6 acres in the REIT’s first purchase in the Los Angeles market. The property, at 2383 Utah Ave., was sold by LBA-VIF Utah LLC, an affiliate of Irvine-based LBA Realty and AEW Capital Management.

The Utah Avenue building was built in 1968 and was renovated in 2004. At the time of the sale it was approximately 78% leased, with Northrop Grumman and Unisys Corp. as its tenants. The Northrop Grumman tenant is the Space and Mission Systems unit of the global defense company, which occupies 53,073 sf for an annual rent of $987,158 under a lease that expires in July 2009. Unisys occupies 64,541 sf for an annual rent of $965,249 under a lease that expires in March 2010.

Behringer Harvard has been looking at properties in L.A. for some time as part of the REIT’s geographic diversification strategy, says Robert Behringer, chairman and CEO of the company. The company liked the Utah Avenue building because it fits Behringer’s strategy of seeking stabilized properties with tenants under long-term leases, he says. It financed the building purchase with a $20-million loan from Greenwich Capital Financial Products Inc. and paid the remaining amount from proceeds of its public stock offering.

The sellers of the Utah Avenue building were represented by Jones Lang LaSalle’s Michel Seifer of the firm’s San Francisco office and Royce Hudson of its Los Angeles office. Behringer, which was represented by Craig Meyer and Steve Solomon of Trammell Crow Co. in Los Angeles, has named Trammell Crow for leasing and management of its new asset.

Behringer Harvard’s other acquisitions to-date include office towers in Washington, Baltimore, Houston, Minneapolis, Atlanta, St. Louis and Denver. The company, which is based in the Dallas suburb of Addison, trades both publicly and privately via the independent broker dealer network and it generally invests in institutional quality holdings.

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