Diversifying a Client's Real Estate Portfolio
In an effort to enhance its long-term shareholder value and strengthen its portfolio of commercial properties in the United States, Singapore-based Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE) Ltd., through its indirect subsidiary, Beringia Central LLC, set out to purchase Los Angeles' iconic U.S. Bank Tower — the tallest office building west of the Mississippi. Our Real Estate Team helped OUE assess the soundness of the investment and then take the necessary steps to acquire this landmark property.
The 1,018-foot high, 72-story U.S. Bank Tower dominates the Los Angeles skyline. Designed by I.M. Pei, it is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city and is often shown in movies to indicate that the action is taking place in LA.
OUE, a publicly traded development company with most of its broad range of properties in Singapore, Malaysia and the People's Republic of China, was seeking to diversify into holdings in major U.S. cities. The company became interested in acquiring the octagonal skyscraper after learning that the owner, a subsidiary of the largest landlord in downtown Los Angeles, wanted to sell the asset quickly.
OUE knew that Holland & Knight — which has one of the largest real estate practices of any national law firm in the United States — has long advised clients on both the purchase and sale of prestige properties, and brings a sophisticated understanding of the commercial real estate marketplace to the table. As a result, the company retained a team of experienced real estate lawyers from our Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York offices to conduct the extensive due diligence required for the acquisition of a large office building with numerous tenants. The land use due diligence was particularly difficult because the Los Angeles Redevelopment Agency, which had facilitated the issuance of all of the entitlements necessary to construct the building, is now defunct.
After we negotiated and drafted the complex purchase agreement, our client was able to achieve its goal of acquiring the landmark building — as well as a nearby parking garage and Maguire Gardens, a 2.3-acre park in the city's financial district — for $367.5 million.