Judicial Reference vs. arbitration

legal dispute resolution in commercial real estate transactions
Businessman being mediator between conflict or arguing co-worker in office.

Whether a commercial real estate purchase or lease agreement, many industrial buyers/sellers and landlords/tenants choose arbitration and thus waive their rights to have the dispute litigated in a court or jury trial. Many believe arbitration saves time and money in the dispute resolution. However, in recent years a new avenue of dispute resolution has grown in use: judicial reference. However, this option has not been incorporation into the AIRCRE standard purchase contract or lease agreement yet. It would have to be added to the addendum. See below excerpt from a law firm for more insight. 


Comparing the overall comparative benefits however, judicial reference has a few significant advantages over arbitration.  For one, while arbitration is – except in very limited cases of egregious instances of fraud or arbitrator misconduct – binding on the parties, while judicial reference affords the parties complete appellate rights.  That right of appeal, tied to the referee’s obligation to follow the rules of evidence (as opposed to an arbitrator’s limited obligation to do the same and the arbitrator’s proclivity to consider almost any evidence presented at the arbitration) renders a judicial reference a more secure and predictable dispute resolution option than arbitration.  These factors alone may warrant the inclusion of a judicial reference clause as the alternative dispute provision in a contract of any consequence.

The only clear disadvantage to a judicial referee compared to an arbitration proceeding is that judicial reference proceedings must be public, while arbitration is usually a private affair, taking place at a private facility not open to the public with and, oftentimes, with no public record.  Arbitration awards, even if confirmed by the Superior Court, are much more likely to be sealed and kept private which is often an important consideration in employment or intellectual property disputes.

from Cohen Durrett LLP

City Terrace: An industrial area on the rise.

The L.A. County industrial neighborhood of City Terrace has seen increased buyer and investor activity in the past few years. Not only have several properties sold in this up and coming area, but a new 200,000 square foot industrial building is under construction by a well known developer.

The heightened interest in this once sleepy area may be due to it’s proximity to the Arts District, Boyle Heights, and Lincoln Heights, and also between Cal State University L.A. and the USC Keck School of Medicine. Nearby a Biotech/Bioscience campus is being built with heavy interest from prospective tenants. These are exciting developments for one of the oldest industrial tracks in L.A.

A new opportunity is a 106,141 square foot land parcel with 40,000 square feet of old manufacturing buildings on it. This site is being offered for sale at land value. Allowed uses in this M2 zone are manufacturing, distribution, trucking, cannabis, and a variety of other industrial and commercial uses. One advantage of operating a business in unincorporated county lands is that there is no gross receipts revenue tax as there exists in the City of Los Angeles.

Contact us regarding this property.

City of Commerce 35,750 SF Building

For Sale: Great industrial concrete warehouse and manufacturing building available for a buyer to purchase. 35,750 square feet of building including roll down security shutters on all windows and 600 amps of 480 volt power. The City of Commerce in recent months passed an ordinance legalizing several types of cannabis operations in the city including cultivation (growing), manufacturing, and distribution. Don’t miss this opportunity. Whether you have applied for a cannabis permit or are simply a real estate investor wishing to lease to the industry, get in before everybody finds out about the recent allowance of marijuana operations in this city.  Contact us for a brochure on this property.

The Interest Deduction: Origin, Who It Benefits, and Fiscal Impact

The below paragraphs are excerpted from “Economic Trends in California Real Estate: Realty Almanac 2018-2020“. It describes the mortgage interest deduction origin, whether buyer or seller reaps the benefit, and the fiscal impact upon the national treasury. After reading it you may come to agree with my view that this deduction should be phased out and the $70 billion in lost tax revenue could then be applied towards balancing the budget. 

Interest deductions took root in the late 19th century. The first federal income tax was established in 1894 and all forms of interest were deductible. However, homeownership was not what motivated Congress to enact such a policy. An interest deduction was viewed primarily as a business situation. Most people at that time in history paid cash for their homes (as is the case today in countries with less sophisticated financial systems). Mortgages were generally only taken out by farmers or investors.

Not until the 1950s did the home mortgage gain anything close to its current significance. Since then, the home mortgage has become the common concern of the housing industry. Without a mortgage, most tenants wait until they accumulate savings equal to the price. The tax deductions and exclusions are now considered entitlements for those homebuyers who need to borrow and for those homeowners who sell.

The true tax benefits to the taxpayer of interest rate deductions for buying and owning a home were lost long ago. They were arbitraged away by increased home pricing and interest rates. Thus, the benefits are passed on to the seller (increased price) and the lender (interest and charges on increased principal). The howl today by industry insiders is that prices will drop if the deductions go away: exactly the evidence that subsidies go to the seller and the lender, not the buyer/owner.

The interest deduction loophole costs the Department of Treasury over $70 billion in lost tax revenue annually, to the benefit of sellers and lenders received indirectly via the buyer. However, the majority of debt- encumbered homeowners don’t see much for it, except for the wealthier among them. Only half of the tax filers who are homeowners are able to claim the deduction. Usually, they receive less than $2,000 in reduced tax liability (the rest have no mortgages and thus no risk of loss).

More than 50% of the federal tax benefit is taken by those few homeowners with incomes exceeding $100,000. It is fair to say those wealthier homeowners have the least need for a subsidy as an inducement to buy a home, since they are financially capable and most likely to purchase anyway.

Coca-Cola Building in DTLA Arts District

The online coupon company, Honey, has signed a lease to occupy the former Coca-Cola syrup manufacturing plant in 2019. Hudson Pacific, the property owner,  paid $49 million in 2015 and renamed the site to Fourth+Traction. They purchased it from GPI who purchased it for $19 million in 2014. One of my colleagues and I represented the buyer in that sale, where they then more than doubled their money flipping it. The seller then was a woman related to the man that once occupied the building as a toy distributor, T.T. Toys.

The Honey lease follows other recent DTLA Arts District transactions such as Warner Music at the Ford Building and Spotify at the At Mateo complex.

Historical photo below showing occupancy of Coca-Coca at the building.  

In Los Angeles Commercial Real Estate