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Sold! Forest City Unloads Mercury Units To Investors

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[Via Flickr user FridayinLA]
Good lord, if things are that hard to move at The Mercury, how is the across-the-street Solair going to be able to sell out? A press release just issued from real estate development Kennedy Wilson notes that their firm has purchased the remaining 149 units in The Mercury, that 23-tower condo project developed by Forest City Residential West. The project, which has a total of 238 units, opened in 2007. According to the press release, Kennedy Wilson’s equity partners included Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and the New York-based real estate firm LeFrak Organization. "Sales of the residences at The Mercury will be handled by an on-site team from Brandon Park & Associates overseen by Kennedy Wilson Residential Investments & Development. Senior Managing Director Stuart Cramer stated that the condominiums will be priced from the low $200,000’s to the high $700,000’s." Just a few weeks ago, the project was advertising prices starting in the mid-$300s. Meanwhile, the latest dry financial news from Cleveland-based Forest City from the Wall Street Journal: "Forest City Enterprises Inc. (FCEB) reported a narrower fiscal first-quarter loss as the real-estate investment trust posted weaker-than-expected results amid largely weaker occupancy rates. UPDATE: According to a spokesperson for Kennedy Wilson, 89 units sold in the Mercury previous to their purchase of the building. So that's 89 units sold over about two years. UPDATE: Stuart Cramer, Senior Managing Director at Kennedy Wilson tells us that he expects the units to sell, in part because prices will be dropped: "They are from the low $200,000s and at that price they will sell quickly. " Asked about whether this will put pressure on the Solair, Cramer said: "The Solair is a different price point."

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An investment partnership led by the international real estate services and investment firm Kennedy Wilson has acquired the remaining 149 units in The Mercury, a 22-story luxury condominium tower on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue, from investors led by Forest City Residential West. Vince Norris of Hendricks & Partners represented both the buyer and seller in the transaction.

Kennedy Wilson’s equity partners in The Mercury transaction include Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and the LeFrak Organization. William McMorrow, chairman of Kennedy Wilson, noted that Guardian’s commitment to The Mercury extends to five the total number of investments on which the two companies have collaborated in the last year. “We’re excited to have Guardian Life play such an important role in our company,” he said. McMorrow also pointed out that with the acquisition of The Mercury his company has purchased projects containing over 1,000 for-sale housing units with a value of $250 million over the same 12-month period.

“We feel fortunate to have been able to acquire The Mercury at a price which will allow us to offer these condominium homes at prices which meet the needs of the market,” said Bob Hart, president & CEO of Kennedy Wilson Multifamily Management Group, who led the Kennedy Wilson negotiating team. “The project clearly fits within our well-established parameters of acquiring under-performing assets with value-added potential in supply constrained urban markets.”

The Mercury offers buyers a range of 16 distinctive one and two-bedroom floor plans averaging 1,062 square feet. The residences include nine to 10-foot high ceilings, granite slab counters, stainless steel kitchen appliances, bamboo floors and Bosch washers and dryers. Select homes have private patios. Because of its height, the project offers its homeowners unobstructed views of the Hollywood Hills, downtown and the Pacific Ocean. The condominiums are built upon two stories of retail space leased to such tenants as Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Jamba Juice and Wachovia Bank. The project is “crowned” by a spectacular rooftop sky deck featuring a resort-style pool, spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, fire pit, event lawn, barbecue areas and seating coves.

Sales of the residences at The Mercury will be handled by an on-site team from Brandon Park & Associates overseen by Kennedy Wilson Residential Investments & Development. Senior Managing Director Stuart Cramer stated that the condominiums will be priced from the low $200,000’s to the high $700,000’s. “Based on our experience and analysis, these are unbelievable price points for centrally located high rise luxury condominium homes,” Cramer said. “The condominium market in the Wilshire-Western neighborhood where The Mercury is located is vibrant with good velocity and we anticipate fantastic results from our marketing program.”

Founded in 1977, Kennedy Wilson is an international real estate services and investment/advisory firm headquartered in Beverly Hills, CA with 20 offices in the U.S. and Japan. It seeks opportunities in partnership with clients in pursuit of above-market investor returns and increased real estate values.

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