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Redone Westwood Center Mostly Leased

Landlord Arden Realty Inc. has obtained commitments for nearly 90% of the space in its Westwood Center office tower on Glendon Avenue east of Westwood Boulevard just a few weeks after completing a make-over of the 22-story building, according to company officials.

Counting recently signed leases and deals that are expected to close soon, the Beverly Hills-based real estate investment trust has commitments for all but about 40,000 square feet of the 313,000-square-foot landmark that was capped by Monty’s restaurant for many years, said Eric Hasserjian, leasing director for the building.

Arden, which finished the $30-million renovation of Westwood Center in January, has landed a roster of tenants that includes a mix of young technology firms as well as traditional businesses.

Among the newest tenants is Internet customer service provider PeopleSupport.com, which took almost 50,000 square feet. Other recent deals involve Thirsty.com, Scient, L.E.K. Consulting, Grubb & Ellis, Madison Marquette, Handprint Entertainment, Lehman Bros., NextSpace and GlobalnetFinancial.com. The new tenants are expected to move in by July, according to Robert C. Peddicord, Arden’s senior vice president of leasing.

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Arden began renovating Westwood Center in January 1999. The first new leases in the building were signed in September. Demand for office space in Westwood is so great that Arden turned down a number of tenants who wanted large blocks of space but were unwilling or unable to sign leases quickly, said Victor Coleman, Arden’s president and chief operating officer.

“The Westwood market has taken a 180-degree turn in the last two years,” Coleman said. He and other Arden executives said they’re now signing leases at $3.50 to $3.75 per square foot a month at the Westwood Center building, up 50 cents per square foot per month from the beginning of this year.

The company paid about $30 million for Westwood Center, which was built in 1965 and was 60% empty when Arden bought it in 1998.

Monty’s won’t be returning to the refurbished office building, which Arden gutted and renovated, installing all new plumbing, wiring, fiber-optic cables, heating, air conditioning and elevators, along with a new exterior design. But Arden is negotiating with a prominent restaurant operator to take space on the ground floor, Peddicord said.

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