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Carnation Begins Move to 21-Story Tower

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Carnation Co. is in the throes of moving from its landmark headquarters in the mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles into the largest office building in Glendale, set to open on North Brand Boulevard on Tuesday.

The massive undertaking began late Wednesday and will continue through Labor Day, John R. Curd, company spokesman, said. About 900 employees, who have spent most of the past month packing, were given today and Friday off in addition to the three-day holiday weekend to allow time for the relocation.

The delicate operation includes moving hundreds of computers loaded with important information. The need for a more modern facility designed to accommodate computers and other new technology was cited as a key factor in Carnation’s decision to move from the headquarters it had occupied since 1949, Curd said.

Workers this week were putting the finishing touches on the 21-story tower at 800 N. Brand Blvd. Protective boards and padding have been installed around elevators and along hallways to prevent damage during the move. New furniture is being moved in for the 13 floors that will be occupied by Carnation.

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The company will have its test kitchens and space for community events on the ground floor and will also occupy the basement and the top 11 floors of the $105-million project.

Another major tenant in the Carnation building will be Walt Disney Imagineering, which oversees Disney’s theme park attractions in the United States, Europe and Japan. About 400 Disney employees housed in the Glendale Industrial Park will be relocated on four floors of the Brand Boulevard tower, said the project builder, Lincoln Property Co., a leading national developer based in Texas.

The 525,000-square-foot building will add about 2,100 workers to the downtown redevelopment zone, with parking for more than 1,600 cars, the Glendale Redevelopment Agency said. More than 50,000 workers already are employed downtown.

Construction also is nearing completion on the 22-story, 423,000-square-foot tower and pavilion at 500 N. Brand Blvd., being built by the Howard-Platz Group of Glendale. A three-story building with 45,000 square feet of office and retail space will soon complete the final phase of the 505 N. Brand Blvd. project built by Reliance Development Co.

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Despite the high volume of new office space, commercial rental activity has remained strong in Glendale, William R. Boyd Jr., a commercial real estate broker for Coldwell Banker, said. Boyd said 240,000 square feet of new office space has been leased in the first six months of this year--a record pace.

The vacancy rate in commercial buildings in Glendale is 12%--far below the peak vacancy rate of 23% reached in 1987 when four office buildings with a total of 960,000 square feet were completed at the same time, Boyd said.

He warned that if the current rental pace keeps up, “a severe shortage of office space” will occur by the end of 1992 with a vacancy rate of only 5%.

He said a shortage of office space could be expected to continue at least through 1995, unless major construction projects in addition to those already planned are undertaken.

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