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Denny’s Transferring Headquarters to Irvine

Times Staff Writer

Denny’s Inc. said Tuesday that it has sold its headquarters in La Mirada and will move to the Park Place office complex in Irvine once owned by Fluor Corp.

Denny’s said it would 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 160,000 square feet of leased office space in the former Fluor Corp. headquarters in Irvine in July, said C. Bruce Evans, Denny’s vice president-development. Winchell’s Donut Houses, which is 42% owned by Denny’s, will remain in the La Mirada complex.

The 22.5-acre complex in La Mirada was bought 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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Trammell Crow in turn signed Denny’s to a $50-million lease at Park Place, which Trammell Crow and a Boston investment firm, First Winthrop Associates, bought in 1985.

Trammell Crow refused to disclose the length of the lease.

The restaurant company will be the third-largest of 45 tenants at the building, after Fluor and Avco Financial Services.

“The current surplus of office space in Orange County enabled us to lease a high-quality, competitively priced facility with an excellent location for the future,” said Evans of Denny’s.

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Trammell Crow has permission to build five more office towers on the property, which is near the San Diego Freeway. Awaiting Irvine’s approval are 1,400 residential units, a hotel, a cinema, restaurants and retail space.

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

Denny’s had not been using the La Mirada complex “to its full potential,” Evans said. “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 in the 5 years to remodel many of its 1,200 coffee shops.

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Separately, Coniston Partners, which is seeking to take over TW Services, said it would no longer insist on 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.

Times staff writer Michael Flagg contributed to this report.


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