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Global Crossing Beverly Hills Headquarters Up For Sale

Gary Winnick, founder and chairman of Global Crossing, is looking for a buyer for the opulent former headquarters of the failed telecommunications firm.

Winnick bought the landmark complex through his investment firm Pacific Capital Group for $41.5 million in 1998 and then leased it to Global Crossing through a subsidiary, North Crescent Realty, for $400,000 a month.

North Crescent Realty has hired real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield to sell the property.

Martin Morgenstern, a senior director at Cushman and Wakefield, said Tuesday there is 'significant interest' in the property, but declined to say whether it would fetch more or less than the amount Winnick's firm paid.

Initial proposals from interested buyers range from turning the historic complex into a boutique hotel to using it as a medical office, Morgenstern said.

Winnick himself works out of a replica of the Oval Office inside the gated plaza. Through his firms, he conducted at least $7.5 million of renovations on the site, of which Global Crossing paid $3.2 million, according to regulatory filings.

Global Crossing broke its lease in April, but Pacific Capital continues to use some of the offices. Winnick's firm did not immediately return a call for comment.

The property was designed by architect Paul Williams. It is modeled after an Italian villa, complete with elaborate gates, statues, fountains and reflecting pools.

The site came to symbolize the flamboyant, big-spending ways of Bermuda-based Global Crossing, which had hoped to dominate the market for high-speed communications with its unmatched 100,000-mile fiber optic network.

The property includes two buildings with a total of 124,000 square feet of office space. The north building was built in 1938 for MCA. The south building was constructed in 1963 for Litton Industries.

The listing comes a day after Global Crossing submitted its reorganization plan with a New York bankruptcy court.

Winnick was subpoenaed last week by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to answer questions about Global Crossing's accounting practices. He is scheduled to appear before the panel on Sept. 24.

Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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