A luxury Marina del Rey apartment complex and boat anchorage has sold for $225 million in one of the largest real estate deals of the year in Southern California.
The Esprit, a 437-unit complex on a finger of land in the marina nearly surrounded by seawater, was purchased by real estate investment firms Capri Capital Partners and Kennedy Wilson from a partnership led by former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski.
Miscikowski is the widow of developer Douglas R. Ring, who was one of Marina del Rey’s largest property leaseholders and apartment owners. His company completed the Esprit in 2008 on land it leased from Los Angeles County. Ring died in 2009.
The new owners have assumed the land lease and will soon launch work on $5.3 million in improvements to the Esprit, said Ken Lombard, who is in charge of investments for Capri, based in Chicago.
Marina del Rey lies on 400 acres of unincorporated land in Los Angeles County. In recent years, county officials have mounted a push to spruce up the neighborhood around the public marina that was dedicated in 1965. The land there remains owned by the county, which has urged leaseholders to upgrade their restaurants, shopping centers, hotels and apartments in the hope of creating a more dynamic community.
The Esprit is the newest apartment complex in the marina, which was carved out of a salt marsh to become one of the largest pleasure boat harbor communities in the United States and an important source of revenue for the county. In addition to leasing the land, the county also takes a cut of apartment and boat slip rents, hotel room rentals and restaurant sales.
The buyers paid top dollar for the Esprit because the marina is on the economic upswing and land there is hard to come by, Lombard said.
“We absolutely believe the marina has a tremendous amount of upside and are very excited about this opportunity,” he said. “We perceive this to be the premier property there in terms of location and quality of the units.”
The 18-acre Esprit site has five buildings and a marina with 227 boat slips available for rent.
Occupancy in the apartments stabilized at 94% during the end of 2012, said Kurt Zech of Beverly Hills-based Kennedy Wilson, “and still has plenty of potential for rental growth in a steadily improving economy.”