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Denny’s Sells Headquarters for Cash to Remodel Shops

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Times Staff Writer

Denny’s Inc. said Tuesday that it has sold its headquarters in La Mirada and will use most of the proceeds to help remodel its coffee shop chain--the nation’s largest.

The company’s 610 corporate employees, who also oversee the El Pollo Loco restaurant chain, are scheduled to move into 150,000 square feet of leased office space in the former Fluor Corp. headquarters complex in Irvine, said C. Bruce Evans, Denny’s vice president-development. Winchell’s Donut Houses, which is 42% owned by Denny’s, will remained headquartered in La Mirada.

The 22.5-acre corporate campus was purchased by Trammell Crow Co., a Dallas-based commercial developer, for an undisclosed price. The site includes several structures, including a four-story office building and Denny’s, El Pollo Loco and Winchell’s outlets.

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Evans said Trammell plans to keep some of the existing buildings on the site, including the three restaurants, while possibly developing vacant portions of the parcel. Trammell Crow officials were not available for comment.

“We’re not utilizing this asset to its full potential,” said Evans of the site. “The proceeds will mainly be used for remodeling our existing restaurants.”

Denny’s, which is owned by New York-based TW Services, has said it plans to spend $25 million to $30 million annually over the five years remodeling many of its 1,200 coffee shops.

Separately, Coniston Partners, which is seeking to takeover TW Services, said it would no longer insist on getting approval from TW’s directors before proceeding with its $1.4-billion offer. The board’s approval of a negotiated acquisition would have lowered the price of a takeover.

But Coniston’s offer is still contingent on TW revoking its so-called poison pill defense, which would make a takeover prohibitively expensive.

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