Business & Real Estate

CalSTRS loses $125 million on Florida land sale

CalSTRS said Thursday it lost around $125 million on the sale of some Florida real estate, a legacy of the land bust of six years ago.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System confirmed that one of its investment partnerships recorded a $132 million loss on the recent sale of a swath of industrial land in Florida’s Palm Beach County.

CalSTRS spokesman Ricardo Duran said the teachers’ pension fund owned 95 percent of the investment and took 95 percent of the loss.

The deal was first reported by the Palm Beach Post and South Florida Business Journal.

Duran said CalSTRS wrote off the investment entirely in 2009, so the sale price represents a partial recovery of its losses. The sale price was nearly $3 million higher than CalSTRS valued the land in the third quarter of this year.

CalSTRS decided not to wait any longer for land prices to recover, however. “The likelihood of getting what we paid for it anytime soon is pretty remote,” Duran said.

Besides, CalSTRS wanted to unload the property as it implements a restructuring of its real estate portfolio, moving away from speculative land deals in favor of leased-up, income-producing properties. “This is part of our de-risking,” Duran said.

CalSTRS’ real estate holdings are worth around $22.3 billion, out of a total portfolio of $189.7 billion.

Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.