SAN DIEGO-The former corporate offices of Chicago Title trades hands again for the second time in less than 12 months. La Jolla-based real estate investment firm, Equastone, acquired the property last July in a $10-million, value-add play. Now, the firm has flipped the property for $13.1 million.Located at 925 B St., the 66,000-sf office property was Equastone’s first Downtown San Diego office play. Equastone chairman David Bourne says the initial acquisition of the empty building was a “very opportunistic transaction.” Bourne says Equastone looked at “typical value-add strategies,” including leasing up and repositioning the property.Chicago Title had vacated the property earlier in 2005 to relocate to the Merrill Lynch building at 701 B St. Equastone acquired the building from Fidelity National Financial, Chicago Title Co.’s parent company. At the time of the acquisition, Chad Carpenter, Equastone’s CEO, told that the firm bought the six-story, class B building with “five business plans on the property and [we] are getting activity from all groups.”However, as the company weighed various options, Bourne says a quick flip to an owner-user would work best for the firm. “By selling 925 B St. within 12 months of the closing of [Equastone Value Fund I], we are able to re-invest the sale proceeds into a replacement property on a tax deferred basis, with the opportunity to significantly boost overall returns to investors,” he adds.Tim Winslow and Scott Diggs of Grubb & Ellis/BRE represented Equastone in the transaction. The buyer was Kurt and Jenny Listug.In the deal, Equastone acquired and sold the property through EVF I, its private real estate fund that closed to investors in November 2005 with $53.5 million of equity. The fund used the equity capital to amass a portfolio of 15 value-add office properties totaling $250 million in California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Texas.

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