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Maguire Thomas Is Splitting Partnership

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The founders of Los Angeles-based real estate giant Maguire Thomas Partners said Tuesday that they are going their separate ways, splitting up one of the nation’s largest and most influential commercial development firms.

The late-afternoon announcement by partners Robert F. Maguire and James F. Thomas comes after months of speculation within real estate circles that a break-up was pending. Maguire Thomas had repeatedly denied reports of financial turmoil caused by the collapse of commercial real estate values and rents in downtown Los Angeles.

“We have reached a time in our careers where we have different goals we want to pursue,” Maguire said in a statement. “We have had a great partnership and relationship over the past two decades while expanding the firm, and have built a portfolio of projects that we are intensely proud of.”

Those projects include Playa Vista, a sprawling development near Marina del Rey that will house the headquarters of Hollywood upstart DreamWorks SKG and other entertainment and high-technology firms. In downtown Los Angeles, Maguire Thomas built and owns the city’s tallest skyscraper--the 73-story First Interstate World Center.

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The company was influential in developing the Bunker Hill area in downtown Los Angeles as well as in the rebuilding and expansion of the Los Angeles Central Library. The company also attracted a stable of blue-chip corporations such as IBM as both tenants and investors in its projects.

Real estate observers say the announcement formalizes what has been a longtime divergence in interests. Maguire has remained keenly interested in the company’s commercial real estate development whereas Thomas has focused most of his attention on sports and entertainment projects in Sacramento, where he is the managing owner of the city’s professional basketball team, the Kings.

Under terms of an agreement hammered out over months of negotiations, Maguire and Thomas will remain partners in a number of projects--such as Playa Vista and the Sacramento Sports and Entertainment Complex. But Thomas will establish a new firm--Thomas Development Partners--that will take over ownership interests in a twin-tower office complex in Philadelphia.

Maguire, who will retain control of Maguire Thomas Partners, will end up with most of the firm’s portfolio, including its collection of downtown Los Angeles skyscrapers, a 1,000-acre business park near Dallas and office parks in Santa Monica and Glendale.

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