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Rising Realty Partners & David Sacks Acquire Historic Office/Retail Site in Old Town Pasadena

Rising Realty Partners (RRP) and internet entrepreneur David Sacks have acquired three buildings in the heart of Old Town Pasadena totaling 60,771 square feet. The site, formerly known as “The Old Pasadena Plaza,” constructed between 1895 and 1914, has multiple historical features and includes a 9-story office tower and two adjacent two-story buildings. All three buildings have ground floor retail that stretches along N. Raymond Avenue and Holly Street. Currently, the project is 60% occupied and includes Café Bizou, one of Old Town Pasadena’s most highly regarded restaurants. RRP & Sacks intend to rebrand and rename the project.

Sacks sparked to the acquisition based on Rising’s concept to redevelop the buildings into first-class creative space for tech companies. A Silicon Valley entrepreneur who created two billion-dollar internet companies, Sacks was the founding CEO of Yammer, acquired by Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion, and the first Chief Operating Officer of PayPal, acquired by e-Bay in 2002 for $1.5 billion. He was also an early (pre-IPO) investor in such notable tech companies as Facebook, Twitter, Uber, SpaceX, Palantir, Houzz, AirBnB, and many others.

“I see this as a significant opportunity to build on the clustering of tech companies that is underway in Pasadena by offering Silicon Valley-style creative space and amenities. This project will become a new tech hub for Pasadena,” said Sacks. Pasadena is home to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Art Center College of Design, as well as over 300 technology companies including startups like Green Dot, Spokeo, and IdeaLab.

“Having David on our team brings a depth of knowledge few in the world can match. He knows intrinsically what works in the creative and technical fields. His guidance will not only help as we revamp the project, but his eye for the next great tech startup will be invaluable as we attract new tenants,” said Nelson Rising, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of RRP.

The Pasadena acquisition follows RRP’s purchase and restoration of the PacMutual Campus, a historical landmark in downtown Los Angeles that includes three buildings with nearly 460,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

“We will restore the architectural beauty of the Pasadena project and reinvigorate it to appeal to Generation X and Millennial tech entrepreneurs. They are looking for a much different environment than the traditional office configurations developed decades ago. Today, it’s all about large open office spaces that foster collaboration and connectivity,” said Christopher Rising, President & Chief Operating Officer of RRP. Rising is part of INNOVATE PASADENA, a group that promotes local collaboration with business and education to attract and retain companies in Pasadena.

RRP’s technology initiative for the project includes installation of a site-wide fiber backbone, fault-tolerant network redundancy, multiple ISP’s for carrier diversity, and on-premises rack space. All of these elements aid in providing tenants fiber-to-the-suite speeds provisioned in as little as 24 hours. Keeping with RRP’s tech-centric culture, the de rigueur public-spaces WiFi is extended to provide complimentary community WiFi at speeds typically reserved only for the fastest office networks. Planned coverage will allow project tenants, and the public at-large, to utilize WiFi along Raymond and Holly Streets in the vicinity of the project.

“By providing WiFi at working speeds for visitors as well as our tenants when they go across the street to work in Pasadena’s Memorial Park, we are extending the working environment to the outdoors, and that is a plus for attracting cutting edge companies that don’t want their employees to be tethered to their office building all day long,” said Christopher Rising.

Significant upgrades are also planned to reconfigure existing traditional office spaces to creative space, including the demolition of all the interior walls on the second floor of the N. Raymond building to open up the floor plan. The project site also benefits from its proximity to Old Town’s most popular retailers, nearby executive and workforce housing as well as a Metro Gold Line light rail stop less than a two minute walk away.

The Risings are no strangers to Pasadena. Nelson was the partner in charge of Plaza Las Fuentes on N. Los Robles Ave. when then Maguire Thomas Partners developed the site in 1989. Designed by Moore, Ruble and Yudell, the complex covers six acres and includes hotels, shops, restaurants and professional offices. Rising directed that fountains and green spaces be woven throughout the site, which sits in the middle of downtown Pasadena. Rising is a resident of La Cañada Flintridge and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Caltech in Pasadena.

Christopher is a graduate of Chandler School, where he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the private K-8 school in Pasadena. He also served as Chandler School’s Board President last year. Christopher is also a member of the Finance Council at Pasadenda’s St. Andrew Parish. Christopher and his family as well as RRP’s Executive Vice President Reed Garwood and his family reside in Pasadena.

“Nelson Rising is one of the premier developers in California. He has a history of doing right by the communities where he takes on a project. I am very happy that Rising Realty Partners is going to be re-positioning and re-envisioning the Old Pasadena Plaza so it will become a gem in my District,” said Pasadena Councilmember John J. Kennedy whose 3rd Council District includes the project.

The Heritage Group in San Diego provided investment advisory services to Sacks, and the seller was represented by Bob Safai of Madison Partners in Los Angeles.

About Rising Realty Partners:

Rising Realty Partners (RRP) is a full-service real estate platform specializing in creating world-class commercial and industrial properties. Core competencies include land and property acquisition, development and entitlement, repositioning, property management, asset management, and construction management. RRP executives have been creating value for investors in California commercial real estate markets for over four decades by striking the perfect balance between dynamic vision and trusted best practices.

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