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Bank of America to Relocate to BP Plaza

Times Staff Writer

Bank of America will move its California headquarters and national consumer banking offices from one downtown Los Angeles high-rise to another next year as part of a move to consolidate office space and save money.

After decades in Arco Plaza at 555 S. Flower St., the bank will move its main office a few blocks to 333 S. Hope St. on top of Bunker Hill in a lease with an estimated value of $40 million. That building, known as BP Plaza, will be renamed Bank of America Plaza by landlord Beacon Capital Partners.

The bank will take 152,000 square feet in the Hope Street building, much of it formerly occupied by BP. The London-based petroleum company, which once rented more than 260,000 square feet in the 55-story high-rise, will reduce its occupancy to 37,000 square feet as part of cost-cutting measures, said real estate broker John McAniff of Cushman & Wakefield, who represented the landlord in the deal.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America has 450,000 square feet and 873 employees in Arco Plaza, where its lease will expire in September 2004. The bank rents 1.5 million square feet in 14 buildings scattered around downtown but is not using all the space, a spokeswoman said. Employees who don’t move to Hope Street will be relocated in the Los Angeles area, including downtown, Pasadena and Glendale, she said. No jobs are being eliminated by the moves.

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“Downtown remains in our view the core of our city both from a business sense and a cultural sense,” said Liam McGee, president of Bank of America California. “It is the nexus.”

The decision to leave Arco Plaza was a financial one, McGee said, and not a commentary on its new ownership.

Los Angeles developer Jim Thomas of Thomas Properties Group recently purchased Arco Plaza and has announced his intention to improve the property -- and raise rents. The bank’s desire to reduce the amount of space it leases would have made it difficult to justify keeping the Bank of America name on top of 555 S. Flower, Thomas spokeswoman Barbara Casey said.

“This opens the door to some real opportunities for us to proceed with negotiations with several other tenants much larger than the Bank of America,” she said.

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The bank was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle in the transaction. BP was represented by Insignia/ESG.

BP Plaza was built in 1974 and was known for many years as Security Pacific Plaza. Bank of America acquired Security Pacific National Bank in 1992.


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