Denny’s in Santa Monica is sold to housing developer


A Denny’s restaurant in Santa Monica has been sold for $11.25 million to a prominent developer known for building apartments in dense urban neighborhoods.

The property at the northwest corner of Colorado Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard had an assessed value of less than $1.5 million, but it lies near the planned terminus of a Metro Rail train line expected to connect Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles by 2016 and is in a new mixed-use pedestrian district identified by the city.

The parcel, which is less than an acre, was the subject of 19 offers from potential buyers, said real estate broker Patrick Wade of Marcus & Millichap. The price of more than $300 per square foot matched land prices in the area during the real estate market’s 2007 peak, he said.


“We have seen property values skyrocket in Santa Monica,” he said.

Denny’s has been a tenant at 1560 Lincoln Blvd. since 1968, according to real estate data provider CoStar Group. Its latest lease will expire in 2013.

A family that had owned the property for decades sold it to NMS Properties of Brentwood, Wade said.

NMS is a prolific developer that has built apartment complexes in Santa Monica, Westwood, West Hollywood and other densely populated neighborhoods in Los Angeles County. Many of the units are compact and considered affordable housing.

A specific design has not been selected for the Denny’s site, Jim Andersen of NMS said, but he expects to propose a mixed-use building with shops on the ground floor and housing above.

“To us, this is the gateway to downtown,” he said. “We want this to be very pedestrian friendly, heavy retail orientation with some really strong design elements.”

NMS is also planning a mixed-use project nearby at 1650-1660 Lincoln Blvd., which is occupied by a brick industrial building built in the 1950s now owned by NMS.

Marcus & Millichap brokers, meanwhile, are about to market a parcel at the southeast corner of Lincoln and Colorado now occupied by Norms restaurant and Wertz Brothers Antique Mart. At nearly 1.5 acres, it will be the largest piece of land for sale in Santa Monica, broker Alex Kozakov said.

Commercial mortgage debt threat diminishing, survey says

The amount of commercial real estate debt coming due in the months ahead is falling, the Mortgage Bankers Assn. said, suggesting that its threat to the economy is diminishing.

Ten percent, or $150.6 billion, of commercial and multifamily mortgages held by non-bank lenders and investors will mature in 2012, a 3% decline from the $154.7 billion that matured in 2011 and an 18% decline from 2010, according a survey conducted by the mortgage bankers group.

The association started taking the survey in 2008 in response to concerns that there was a coming wave of commercial mortgage maturities that would swamp the market, said Jamie Woodwell, the group’s vice president of commercial real estate research.

The loan maturities vary significantly by investor group. According to the survey:

Just 4% of the outstanding balance of multifamily and healthcare mortgages held or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration will mature in 2012.

Life insurance companies will see 6% of their outstanding mortgage balances mature in 2012. Among loans held in commercial-mortgage-backed securities, 11% will come due, and 29% of commercial mortgages held by credit companies and other investors will mature in 2012.

The dollar figures reported are the unpaid principal balances as of Dec. 31. Banks and thrifts hold an additional $793 billion in mortgages backed by income-producing properties, which were not covered by the survey.