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IRVINE, CA-Hyundai Motor Finance Co. has signed a lease for 100,000 sf of office space at 3161 Michelson Dr., a 20-story, 531,000-sf tower at the Park Place complex that is owned by Los Angeles-based Maguire Properties Inc. The L.A.-based office REIT says that the Hyundai unit expects to occupy its new space in the second quarter of 2009.

Terms of the lease were not disclosed. Rates at the 3161 Michelson building at one time were pushing $4 per sf per month, but that was before problems like the subprime mortgage meltdown turned the county’s office market from one of the top performers in the country to one with substantial negative net absorption last year.

Hyundai Motor Finance will be moving into the 3161 Michelson project from elsewhere in Orange County. The 3161 building is part of the 105-acre Park Place mixed-use campus that is adjacent to the Santa Diego (405) Freeway at Jamboree Road and Michelson Drive.

Hyundai was represented by a Cushman & Wakefield brokerage team led by Donald Yahn, director in Cushman & Wakefield’s Orange County office. Maguire Properties was represented internally by Peter Johnston, Stefan Khudic and Cori Caso.

The Park Place development that the 3161 Michelson building is part of is one of the Orange County assets that Maguire has placed on the market in the L.A.-based REIT’s efforts to reverse financial troubles that have beset the company—leading to the resignation this year of founder Rob Maguire and the appointment of Nelson C. Rising as the company’s new president and CEO.

Maguire this summer retained Eastdil Secured to start marketing Park Place, which already includes 2.3 million sf of space in nine buildings and is expected to be fully developed over the next five to seven years. The company plans to use the proceeds from the sale of its Orange County assets to pay down debt and for other general corporate purposes.

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