Former headquarters of automotive legend Carroll Shelby sold

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The former Marina del Rey headquarters of automotive legend Carroll Shelby was sold along with two office buildings for $6.5 million.

Shelby, once a race car driver, set up shop for his fledgling car company Shelby-American at 1042 Princeton Drive in March 1962, his website said. That year he introduced his first Cobra sports car, and in 1963 a Cobra won the United States Road Racing Championship.

The company operated out of a red brick industrial and office complex built in the late 1950s that, according to books on Shelby, had previously been leased by playboy race car driver and entrepreneur Lance Reventlow. Reventlow’s company created the Scarab, an open-wheel race car once driven by Shelby.

Princeton Drive is referred to in Shelby lore as being in Venice. The short street, south of the intersection of Washington and Lincoln boulevards, is now generally considered part of Marina del Rey.

Patton Investments sold the 34,000-square-foot industrial and office properties at 1042 Princeton Drive and 1038-1040 Princeton Drive to a limited-liability corporation, broker James Wilson of Lee & Associates said.

The buyer plans to remodel the buildings and “reposition” them, he said. Many former industrial buildings on the Westside have been converted to offices for creative firms.

Shelby moved his company to a facility near Los Angeles International Airport in 1965 and now operates his automotive empire from Las Vegas.

Kimpton Hotels buys Canary Santa Barbara

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants bought the Canary Santa Barbara hotel and is looking for more Southern California inns to purchase, the company said.

No major changes are planned for the 97-room boutique hotel on West Carrillo Street in downtown Santa Barbara, said Joe Long, chief investment officer.

“The former owner’s vision is consistent with what we do,” Long said.

Kimpton favors highly designed, stylized hotels with chef-driven restaurants intended to appeal to local residents as well as travelers. The Canary has a Canary Islands theme, a restaurant and a rooftop lounge.

Kimpton paid $21 million for the Canary, according to Santa Barbara County property records.

Most hotel brands operate inns for third-party owners. San Francisco-based Kimpton is unusual in that it owns about 20% of the country’s more than 50 Kimpton hotels. Its private equity fund, which buys the buildings, invests mostly on behalf of college endowments, Long said.

Kimpton operates only one inn in Los Angeles County, the Hotel Palomar on Wilshire Boulevard near UCLA.

“Southern California really is, of all the markets in the country, our biggest target right now,” Long said. “It’s a high-profile market that can support the kind of properties we operate.”

Commercial property prices hold steady

Commercial property prices in the U.S. are mostly holding steady, analysts said, though some apartment buildings and shopping centers are appreciating.

Prices for such buildings as warehouses and offices have been relatively steady since last summer after a sharp two-year rally saw them rebound to within 10% of their all-time highs, according to Green Street Advisors Inc. of Newport Beach

“With the exception of apartments and high-end malls, we haven’t really seen values go anywhere in almost a year now,” analyst Peter Rothemund said.

Values of multifamily residential properties have been strongest and have surpassed prior highs, while lodging and office properties are furthest from their 2007 peaks, according to Green Street.

The firm’s overall commercial property price index, which tracks transactions, inched up 1% in March. Prices could increase more in coming months, Rothemund said. “Signals from capital markets … are pointing in that direction.”