Customs Service to Move to Long Beach High-Rise

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More than 350 U.S. Customs Service employees will move from their aging facility on Terminal Island late this year to one of downtown Long Beach's office high-rises.

The General Services Administration has signed a 20-year lease relocating the Customs agency's Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport Area Port of Entry operation to about 93,000 square feet at the 20-story Shoreline Square tower at 301 E. Ocean Blvd.

The $63-million transaction between the GSA and landlord TrizecHahn Corp. is one of the biggest Long Beach office leases in recent years. That figure includes rent payments that increase at specified dates over the course of the lease term, along with funds slated for customizing the offices.

The deal will bring occupancy at the 383,000-square-foot Shoreline Square above 95%--the highest in its 13-year history, said Beth Sydow, TrizecHahn's leasing director for Long Beach.

About three years ago, the Toronto-based real estate giant paid $150 million for two downtown Long Beach office towers: Shoreline Square and the 24-story Landmark Square at 111 W. Ocean Blvd. Occupancy at Landmark Square is around 90%

Office rents have continued to climb over the last 12 months in downtown Long Beach as occupancy rates have fallen, brokerage services company CB Richard Ellis reports. Landlords today are asking an average of $22.80 a square foot annually for vacant downtown space, up from $21.25 a year ago. But downtown's vacancy rate now stands at about 16%, higher than the 13% recorded a year ago.

Grubb & Ellis Co.'s Chris Sinfield and Rammy Rasmussen helped broker the GSA deal.

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