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IRVINE, CA-Transpacific Development Co. of Torrance has acquired the 270,000-square-foot One and Three Premier Place office complex, home to the Taco Bell corporate headquarters and Ford Motor Co., in the largest office sale in Orange County this year. The purchase price and TDC’s assumption of financial obligations under the Ford and Taco Bell leases bring the total transaction value to approximately $73 million, according to Thomas Irish, president of TDC, who notes that the Torrance-based company is reviewing long-term debt options for the property, which it bought on an all-cash basis.

The property consists of two class A, single-tenant office buildings plus a four-level parking structure. One Premier Place is a five-story, 181,000-square-foot building that is fully-leased to Taco Bell Corp. as its world headquarters. Taco Bell, owned by YUM! Brands of Louisville, KY, is preparing to start tenant improvements in the building, which it is set to occupy on a long-term basis in early 2010. Three Premier Place is a one- and two-story, 89,000-square-foot building that is fully leased on a long-term basis to Ford Motor Co., which previously developed the property and recently renovated a portion of Three Premier Place to accommodate its future use.

Irish tells GlobeSt.com that the acquisition of One and Three Premier marks the first time in 10 years that Transpacific has bought a Southern California property. “Our view was that pricing in California in general and Southern California in particular was very aggressive,” until now, Irish explains.

The Torrance-based investment and development company in recent years has focused on buying warehouses in other markets where “pricing and cap rates were more approachable for us.” Transpacific was planning to buy again in California later this year, but it is back in the market sooner than expected because the Irvine office complex presented a rare opportunity in terms of value, quality of property and quality of tenants.

“These are high-quality tenants,” Irish says of Ford and YUM!, which rank among Fortune magazine’s top 300 US companies. He points out that the buildings “were developed to very exacting standards with high-end finishes and architecturally attractive details.” He adds that the recent tenant improvements by Ford and the pending improvements by Taco Bell further enhance the property.

Phil Horlock, chairman of Ford Land, the real estate arm of Ford Motor Co., states that Ford “is committed to a presence in Irvine.” He says that Three Premier Place “will continue to serve as our West Coast headquarters housing our Strategic Concepts Group Studio and our recently announced West Market general office.”

Irish calls the deal “a fantastic acquisition for us” and says that TDC feels fortunate to be selected as the buyer. In addition to the long-term, quality tenants, he cites a number of other elements that made the property appealing to TDC as an investment. The buildings are accessible from Interstates 5 and 405 in a “terrific environment” that the Irvine Co. has carefully created and cultivated for many years, he says. The property was one of the first green projects in Orange County, receiving LEED certification in 2001 for its energy efficiency, living roof and sustainable landscape.

The office complex was broadly marketed for sale by CB Richard Ellis and was highly sought-after, especially in today’s economic environment, according to Michael Kane and Dean Chandler of CBRE. They say that the blend of high-quality improvements and notable, credit-worthy tenants in a desirable submarket of Orange County appealed to a wide variety of investors looking for long-term cash flow. Kane and Chandler listed the property along with Jeff Morgan, Karen Scholte and Paul Jones of CBRE’s Newport Beach office, and Kevin Shannon, Ken White and Todd Tydlaska of CBRE’s South Bay office.

TDC is a full-service real estate development and investment firm that was founded in 1954 by Shurl Curci. The company has developed nearly 10 million square feet of office, industrial and retail properties in the western US. TDC invests and develops for its own account, without outside partners or investors. TDC entities currently own approximately 10.5 million square feet of property in six states.

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