Comcast purchases Universal City tower for about $420 million

With an eye toward consolidating its Los Angeles-area operations, Comcast Corp. has purchased 10 Universal City Plaza, the tallest office building in the San Fernando Valley, for its NBCUniversal division.

Comcast's NBCUniversal unit is the largest tenant at the property, which sold for about $420 million, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter.


The deal with seller Normandy Real Estate Partners closed Tuesday. According to real estate sources who were not authorized to comment publicly, the 35-story building in Universal City sold for about $516 per square foot. The transaction is one of the biggest commercial real estate deals in Los Angeles County this year.

The property is adjacent to the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and the headquarters of movie studio Universal Pictures. NBCUniversal confirmed the purchase of the property, but declined to address the financial details of the transaction.

"NBCUniversal continues to explore real estate opportunities as they arise near its ongoing business operations in Universal City," the company said in a statement. "The company proceeded with purchasing 10 UCP given the current market conditions, the building is at the gateway to our property, and NBCUniversal is currently the majority tenant."

Philadelphia-based Comcast could move various NBCUniversal units to the property, which has a significant amount of vacant space. Data from real estate analytics firm CoStar Group shows that the 813,892-square-foot granite clad tower is about 71% leased, with 238,218 square feet available for rent.

Among the NBCUniversal units that could move to the tower is cable channel E!, which leases about 344,000 square feet at 5750 Wilshire Blvd. in the Miracle Mile area, according to CoStar.

A source with knowledge of E!'s lease agreement with Tishman Speyer, the landlord of 5750 Wilshire Blvd., said that the cable network can opt out of its deal in 2017.

E! did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NBCUniversal occupies 425,418 square feet at 10 Universal City Plaza, according to CoStar, making it the biggest tenant by far at the property.

At one time, the granite-clad building was owned by Vivendi Universal, a former parent of NBCUniversal. Vivendi Universal sold the property in 2003 to Beacon Capital Partners and CarrAmerica Realty Corp. for $190 million. 

Doug Marlow, a commercial real estate broker with CBRE Group who handles leasing at the property, declined to comment.

The tower was designed by architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and was built in 1984 by Getty Oil Co. 
Morristown, N.J.-based Normandy, a real estate investment and management firm, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.