Santa Monica based Westside Rentals has been sold to the CoStar Group, operator of Apartments.com.
The sale was announced this week and the new owners said the local company will keep its Santa Monica headquarters. The company will decrease focus on its brokerage sales and leasing services to maximize its inventory of available rental properties.
Local entrepreneur Mark Verge started Westside Rentals 20 years alongside his wife Lani and his brother. He said the company had been approached by potential buyers before, but the CoStar offer was exceptional. “We are thrilled to join the CoStar team and the Apartments.com network of sites,” he said. “Becoming part of an incredibly innovative company that has truly transformed the rental experience for consumers and landlords alike is exciting and we’re eager to contribute to their success.”
He said the sale was more attractive due the buyer’s commitment to the current employees
“The key is the employees are all taken care of,” he said.
Westside Rentals offers a subscription service for finding rental housing. The company reported more than 85,000 members in 2016 and had more than 350,000 landlords listing properties. The local listings will be added to the Apartments.com network.
“The Los Angeles market represents the largest rental market in the U.S. Bringing Westside Rentals into our family of rental brands and expanding the rental choices for consumers there is a natural extension for us,” said Andrew Florance, Founder and CEO of CoStar Group. “Westside Rentals has built a loyal base of renters in this highly competitive market as well as a dedicated group of landlords across a variety of different types of rental properties.”
Verge also owns a chain of local restaurants and said he plans to reinvest in the eateries and use the businesses to build a stronger sense of community in Santa Monica.
“It’s a fun business, I enjoy it,” he said. “I really enjoy the interaction with the community, with the employees.”
Of his four restaurants (OP Café, Margo’s, Art’s Table and Ashland Hill) Verge said the spirit of OP Café is a great example of why he wants to stay involved in the local community.
“My wife Lani always says, ‘it’s the greatest place because it’s so neighborhood,’” he said.
He said a neighborhood restaurant where locals can get a cup of coffee from someone that knows their name are vitally important to the city’s wellbeing and that the local operations do far more for the community than a corporate outlet.
“Does the city really need a 24th or 25th Starbucks?” he said. “I’m from Santa Monica and I want to build more community. I’m really excited about the neighborhood restaurant.”
Verge said part of his renewed focus would be on supporting local youth through support for local schools. He said Westside Rentals never turned down a request to support a local school and he wants all of his restaurants to increase their participation in the community.
“I Really want to support the schools,” he said. “I feel like we’re going to doing a little bit more for the neighborhood.”