San Diego Daily Transcript

Real Estate Briefs

January 12, 1998


The 11-building, 650,000-square-foot San Diego
Tech Center on Sorrento Mesa has been sold
for $93 million. The 15-year-old complex on
Scranton Road was acquired by real estate
investment firms from San Diego and New York. The seller was a GE unit.

The 11-building, 650,000-square-foot San Diego Tech Center on 38 Sorrento Mesa acres at 9605 Scranton Road, San Diego 92121, has been sold for $93 million. The property is distinctive for the red "Stargazer" sculpture by Alexander Liberman in front (photo right).

The buyer was San Diego Tech Center, L.L.C., a Delaware limited liability company. The members are an investment affiliate of New York-based Westbrook Partners and San Diego-based SENTRE Partners. Salomon Brothers Realty Corp. provided a loan of $65 million.

Westbrook is a real estate investment management company with offices in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and Florida. The company has reportedly invested more than $3 billion in U.S. real estate assets, companies and securities during the past three years. About one-third of the investment has been in California, with a focus toward technology-driven metropolitan area.

SENTRE is a real estate investment and services company that, through its investment affiliate San Diego Realty Investors, has reportedly acquired or developed 1.1 million square feet of space in the United States and Mexico valued at more than $110 million. SENTRE Partners include Stephen B. Williams, John F. McColl, J. Cole Francis, Michael P. Peckham and Matthew T. Spathas. Last year the company was involved with General Electric's pension trust in the acquisition of two high-rise office buildings for $72 million: 101 West Broadway and the Home Savings Tower.

  The seller of 15-year-old the San Diego Tech Center (assessor's parcel 341-031-35) was Sorrento Tech Associates, a California limited partnership with Barnes Canyon RPS Realty Corp. as the general partner. B. Bradford Barrett is president of Barnes Canyon.

The San Diego Tech Center is anchored by an eight-story office building and includes another eight flexible research and development/office buildings. Also on site is a five-acre Japanese garden, a fitness center, swimming pool, volleyball court and the Karl Strauss Brewery and Beer Garden.

The property reportedly is 100 percent occupied and has land enough for development of another 300,000 square feet of space.

The seller was represented by Robert Briscoe and Kristina Wollan of LaSalle Partners.

Tenants include Vagabond Inns Inc. under a 10-year lease (with one five-year extension option) beginning May 1993, Applied Digital Access under a 72-month lease beginning June 1993, Metropolitan Fiber Systems of California Inc. under a 122-month lease (with one 60-month extension option) beginning October 1994, Pacific Data Products under a five-year lease (with two three-year extension options) beginning September 1994 and Associated Microbreweries Ltd. under a 10-year lease (with three five-year extension options) beginning April 1993.

The complex was codeveloped by Jack Naiman and his Naiman Company in two phases with the first breaking ground in August 1982. Naiman's partner was San Diego RFP Realty Corp., a affiliate of General Electric. The center was expanded in 1986. In 1984, the late Home Federal Bank (then Home Federal Savings & Loan) provided a $150 million loan with $80 million as long-term financing for the completed first phase and the remainder for construction the second increment and as a forward commitment for proposed third and fourth phases.

In February 1991, the San Diego Tech Center, called the Naiman Tech Center for a few years, was placed into bankruptcy proceedings to cut off a foreclosure sale scheduled by Home Fed, which claimed an outstanding debt of nearly $71 million.

In July 1992, the Naiman/GE partnership was restructured and GE Investments took over the property. At that time, the complex was about 60 percent occupied and management was turned over to Williams Partners, headed by Stephen B. Williams. In return for title to the center, the GE subsidiary was to make up to $20 million in new capital contributions. Home Fed got a $10 million payment.

The San Diego Tech Center was not the only problem Naiman ran into in the early 1990s.

In 1992, his company lost through foreclosure the 190,000-square-foot, 12-building Naiman Torrey Pines Park at 3910-4010 Sorrento Valley Blvd. and the Torrey Pines Research and Development Park at 4030-4060 Sorrento Valley Blvd.

In 1990, he sold his interest in the $150 million Aventine hotel/office complex in the Golden Triangle back to his Japanese partners. The 265,000-square-foot development was designed by Michael Graves.