A downtown Los Angeles office tower that was once the stately headquarters of Home Savings of America has been bought by a local real estate firm that hopes to restore it to glory.
Jade Enterprises acquired the building at 660 S. Figueroa St. out of bankruptcy after a former owner lost financial control of the property.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Real estate brokerage Cassidy Turley, which was not involved in the sale, estimated that Jade paid about $75 million for the property.
Figueroa Tower, as the 24-story building is now known, stands atop the busy Seventh Street Metro Center subway station in a thriving section of downtown -- but is barely half-full of tenants.
The tower was completed in 1989 and like other downtown skyscrapers of its era, the building has had difficulty keeping tenants. Many white-collar professional firms have left downtown since it was built, and others have cut back on the amount of office space they rent.
Homes Savings' parent company, H.F. Ahmanson & Co., was sold to Seattle-based thrift Washington Mutual in 1998.
The new owners of Figueroa Tower plan to update common areas of the building such as corridors and parking lobbies, Jade representative Brian Taban said. They will strive to preserve the tower’s unusual character, style and design, he said.
The building cost $100 million to build a quarter of a century ago, when it was the showplace headquarters of Home Savings. The bank was known for its elaborately designed branches clad in white marble and adorned with murals and mosaics.
The design of the former headquarters tower is a post-modern interpretation of 16th century French architecture with octagonal turrets at each corner and a steeply pitched copper mansard roof with triangular gables and turrets. Its base is covered in Italian marble.
The main lobby is on the sixth floor above five floors of parking.
Across Figueroa, work is underway on the $1-billion Wilshire Grand hotel and office building that promises to become a landmark. L.A. Live is a few blocks south.
"This will arguably be the epicenter of downtown once Wilshire Grand is built,” Taban said.
Jade Enterprises is a family-owned firm based in downtown Los Angeles that specializes in buying and improving commercial properties, he said. The firm recently also recently purchased a historic building at 1800 S. Brand Blvd. in Glendale that was once home to Seeley's Furniture.