BEVERLY HILLS, CA-The owner of the 131,000-sf Two Rodeo Drive retail center in the swanky Rodeo Drive shopping district has refinanced the property with a $100 million loan provided by CSFB/Column Financial and arranged by the San Francisco office of L.J. Melody & Co., the real estate investment banking division of CB Richard Ellis. The borrower was advised by Falcon Real Estate Investment Co. John Nelson of L.J. Melody’s San Francisco office and Howard Hallengren of Falcon’s New York office tell that the owner refinanced to secure a lower rate and to replace a loan that was maturing. Nelson and Hallengren could not disclose the name of the borrower because of confidentiality agreements, but industry sources say a European trust bought the property for about $130 million in 2000 with London-based Strategic Real Estate Advisers as adviser to the buyer. Two Rodeo Drive, developed in 1989-1990, is described by the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau as “one of Rodeo Drive’s many exceptional shopping experiences,” with Spanish Steps ascending from Wilshire Boulevard to Via Rodeo, a cobbled pedestrian street lined with eateries, shops and boutiques. The property, at the intersection of Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard in the city’s Golden Triangle, is occupied by tenants like Tiffany, Versace, Gianfranco Ferre, Gucci, Vilebrequin, and Lalique. Its tenants are representative of the upscale shops that make Rodeo Drive one of the world’s ritziest retail districts. It’s one of California’s 10 largest tourist attractions, with an estimated 12 million visitors annually. Rodeo Drive retail properties generate some of the country’s highest sales per sf and sell for thousands of dollars per sf. But the retail properties rarely trade, brokers familiar with them say, because they’re so hard to come by that their owners want to keep them.

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