Herbalife to move downtown

Times Staff Writer

Herbalife Ltd. said Wednesday that it would move its U.S. headquarters to downtown Los Angeles from Century City in 2008, giving a boost to downtown and the L.A. Live project.

The maker of nutritional supplements and weight management products will be one of the anchor tenants in an office building at L.A. Live, the $2.5-billion sports, entertainment and residential complex being constructed next to Staples Center.

The lease, for an undisclosed price, is a big deal for downtown because in past years, corporate headquarters have been leaving instead of coming, said Tony Morales, a broker at Staubach Los Angeles who represented Herbalife.


“The office market is still soft,” Morales said, “but the amenities are improving.”

L.A. Live developer AEG hopes Herbalife will boost the project by using AEG’s other facilities, such as Nokia Theatre and Staples Center, for product launches, conventions and meetings. Herbalife could employ studios at L.A. Live to broadcast video to its 60 branch offices around the world and communicate with its 1.5 million distributors.

“They’ll also drive a lot of traffic into the new Marriott hotel,” AEG President Tim Leiweke said.

“We think this will be a great branding move for us,” said Michael O. Johnson, chief executive of Herbalife. “We’ll bring distributors from all over the world to see our bricks and mortar and understand who we are.”

The company, which had revenue of $1.6 billion last year, is moving to reposition itself as a nutrition business after being known primarily for its weight-loss products before founder Mark Hughes died in 2000.

Herbalife sponsors events such as triathlons, bicycle races, volleyball tournaments and soccer games. It has partnered with AEG to put on athletic events at Home Depot Center in Carson.


Herbalife will rent 60,000 square feet in a 160,000-square-foot office building at L.A. Live that is now fully leased, Leiweke said. AEG also will be based in the five-story building, but Leiweke declined to identify the other tenant that will move in when the building is completed in 2008.