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WALNUT CREEK, CA-Work is under way for the California State Automobile Association’s new headquarters. The 250,000-sf, six-story building is being developed by Harvest Properties an Equity Office at Contra Costa Centre, a transit-oriented project covering 140 acres adjacent to the Pleasant Hill BART station and Interstate 680. Occupancy is slated for early 2010.

Meantime, the CSAA, also known as AAA of Northern California, Nevada and Utah, is leasing back a portion of its existing 600,000-sf headquarters complex in San Francisco’s Civic Center area. It sold the four-building complex to CalPERS in January for $120 million.

The CSAA put the complex on the market in mid-2007, concurrent with the announcement of its plans to relocate. The CSAA told GlobeSt.com in June that the proceeds from the sale of its current headquarters complex should cover in large part the cost of its new headquarters, which is expected to cost approximately $125 million ($500 per sf) to develop. CSAA’s long-term lease deal for the building includes a fixed-price purchase option that it is expected to exercise.

CSAA’s current headquarters is anchored by a 28-story, 375,000-sf building at 100 Van Ness Ave. that boasts views of all four bridges from the upper floors and represents the only high-rise, multi-tenant office property in the Civic Center submarket. The rest of the portfolio, built in the 1950s, consists of two connected seven-story buildings and one eight-story building located at 150 Van Ness Ave. and 150 Hayes St., and parking for 248 vehicles.

Buchanan Street Partners, which acquired the complex on behalf of CalPERS, says is planning to reposition the properties through “enhancements to the common areas and lobbies, asbestos abatement and seismic renovations.” CalPERS joint venture partners are locally based Patson Cos., which last year acquired the historic Cannery at Fisherman’s Wharf, and Vornado Realty Trust.

“This investment provides a unique opportunity to reposition a significant amount of office space in a booming urban submarket,” said Chris MacDonald, managing director of Buchanan Street Partners’ San Francisco office, at the time of the acquisition. The Civic Center/Van Ness submarket is currently experiencing revitalization, he says, with the development of nearby residential properties, cultural centers, restaurants and entertainment venues.

Edward Suharski, a senior vice president with Grubb & Ellis had the disposition assignment for CSAA’s headquarters. Suharski told GlobeSt.com in June that the portfolio would come about 75% leased and that the vacancy would consist of 10 contiguous floors in the high rise that the new owner would be able to select. The CSAA’s new headquarters address will be 3055 Oak Rd., which sits just outside the city limits of Walnut Creek in unincorporated Contra Costa County.

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