Atrium Building in Pacific Palisades Has New Owners

By Sue Pascoe

Brothers Kamyar and Joseph Shabani closed escrow on the Atrium building on Via de la Paz on November 8.

Principals of Optimus Properties based in Century City, the Shabanis develop, lease and manage multi-family, retail and commercial real estate buildings throughout Southern California.

Their most immediate concern is to improve the street appeal of the building, where Palisades Pizza is located.

“It’s dated and we want it to feel like it belongs in the Village and not transplanted from Santa Monica,” said Joseph, who graduated from Loyola Law School, specializing in real estate. “Remodeling is our immediate thinking, because the building has potential.”

Kaymar and Joseph Shabani are the new owners of the Atrium building in Pacific Palisades. Photo: Bar tBartholomew

“We don’t want it to look crazy modern, but rather clean and elegant,” added Kamyar, who also specialized in real estate law at Columbia Law School.

The building, which has office and retail spaces that range in size from 250 to 6,000 sq. ft., is 85 percent occupied.

There are six levels in the geometric modern building, and 45 rentable spaces. Five spaces are available for lease, and the Shabanis are “willing to do what it takes to get spaces leased.”

Tenants, who pay between $4 and $4.50 per square foot, include therapists, tutors, a speech pathologist, financial services, Pilates business, physical therapy, nonprofits, a few people in the entertainment business (Jane Fonda used to have an office in the building, as did Brook Burke of “Dancing With the Stars”) and several retail stores (Flash Jewelry, Atrium Salon and Palisades Shoe Repair).

The building was owned by Peter Caloyeras for 20 years before he sold it to Jeff Seltzer and Brentwood Capital in 2007 for $13 million. Immediately, tenants’ rents were raised. When the economic downturn hit in 2008, occupancy plummeted.

The borrower defaulted on the loan in 2010. The Shabanis, who declined to give the purchase price, said they bought it for substantially less than the 2007 price. Joseph and Kamyar are working with the city to get permits for a new design and plan to visit the town’s Pacific Palisades Design Review Board for additional tips.

“Instead of the wild geometric angles, it might be good to have a nice façade,” Joseph said.

They are looking at ways to increase the visibility of the retail stores, which may involve installing a showcase window to give those stores better visibility. The store opposite Flash has been occupied for 20 years by Nextel and the brothers hope that company can be moved to a different space.

“It would help the retail to have something different in that space,” Kamyar said. Molly Pinero, who worked with Peter Caloyeras as a manager, was let go by Seltzer in 2007, but rehired in 2010. She will continue to be the building manager.

The brothers’ father, Houshang Shabani, moved with his family from Iran in 1976, shortly before the Shah was deposed. The family settled in Beverly Hills, when Joseph was 11 and Kaymar 3 and the father started developing residential and commercial real estate.

“We’re excited to be in the Palisades,” Joseph said. “The sense of community is invigorating and we want to be part of it. We’re looking at the long term.”

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