By Eliot Brown
These days, it pays to be a landlord in Silicon Valley.
West Coast landlord Bixby Land Co. has sold a San Jose office park to MetLife for $96 million, according to Bixby, netting a tidy return for the Irvine, Calif., company.
Bixby and partner Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors bought the 250,000 square foot property—called THE Campus –in 2012 for about $29 million when it was mostly vacant. At the time, the office market in the San Jose area was tepid, even as the cities in the heart of Silicon Valley like Palo Alto and Mountain View were starting to boom.
The bet for Bixby was that after a renovation, the company would be able to find tenants in a rising market, leasing up the building then selling it at a much higher price.
The company put about $25 million of additional investment, adding such frills as outdoor fire pits and other amenities, leasing up the space quickly, mostly to Verizon.
“We were very pleased with it,” said Bill Halford, Bixby Land’s chief executive. Silicon Valley is “a very volatile market and you have to be careful,” he added, “but when it’s good, it’s very good.”