‘League of Legends’ video game maker to move to West L.A.

The maker of the international online video game hit “League of Legends” will move to a five-building office campus in West Los Angeles after signing what was described as the biggest new office lease in Southern California in five years.

Up-and-coming video game publisher Riot Games Inc. has agreed to rent all 284,000 square feet in the Element LA creative office campus being built on Olympic Boulevard between Bundy Drive and Centinela Avenue.

Riot Games makes only the one game so far, but it operates around the clock. Each month more than 32 million people in nearly 150 countries play “League of Legends,” making it one of the most-played computer games in the world.


Founded in 2006, the company has been racing to keep up with the popularity of “League of Legends” since the game was released in 2009, a company representative said.

“Our growth’s made it tough to find room for us all to be together in a comfortable, fun environment,” Chief Executive Brandon Beck said. “We’ve had to spread across multiple floors and buildings. That sprawl can get in the way of the creative energies that are essential to making really fun games. We think this new space will really boost the creative and productive vibe of our workplace.”

Company staffers are now scattered among multiple locations in a Santa Monica office complex. The company expects to move 1,000 employees to Element LA when it opens in 2015 and to keep growing to 1,500 workers at that location.

Element LA is a $150-million development by Los Angeles landlord Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. Terms of its 15-year lease agreement with Riot Games were not disclosed, but Hudson Pacific was asking for monthly rent of $3.75 a square foot, according to property experts familiar with the Westside.

Hudson Pacific is making Element LA into a five-building complex on 12 acres. The centerpiece of the campus is a 1950s-era, 167,000-square-foot building with high wood bow truss ceilings, saw-toothed skylights and industrial windows.

Planned outdoor elements include a volleyball and basketball court, patios, a bike shop and a cafe.

“Element LA is a one-of-a-kind property that generated significant interest from prospective tenants,” said Victor Coleman, chief executive of Hudson Pacific.

Among the would-be occupants were white-collar firms not engaged in creative businesses such as entertainment, media or technology, which usually gravitate to conventional office space, Coleman said.

Riot Games wanted every available square foot of space, though, and that gave them a leg up in the deal.

“We really loved the idea of having one tenant in the whole campus, and Riot Games liked the idea of a dedicated campus exclusively theirs,” said real estate broker Jeff Pion of CBRE Group Inc., who helped represent Hudson in the transaction.

It was the largest new lease of office space measured in square feet in Los Angeles and Orange counties over the last five years, CBRE Group said.

Element LA will have a five-story parking garage and is across the street from a planned stop on the Expo Line light rail line that will connect Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles by 2015. U.S. Bank provided a $65-million construction loan for the development.

“League of Legends” has a strong following in Asia. Teams from Taiwan, South Korea and China are among the best and compete for millions of dollars in prizes at championship competitions attended by thousands of spectators.

Two teams of five players compete in an epic battle fought on Internet-connected computers. Using their computer mice and keyboards, players have to slash through opponents’ characters and an ever-growing swarm of robots called minions on a quest to destroy their opponent’s orb, known as the Nexus. Players pay real money for extra weapons and more powerful characters.

In 2011, Chinese Internet portal provider Tencent Holdings Ltd. paid an estimated $350 million to $400 million for a majority stake in Riot Games.

The company’s decision to move from Santa Monica to L.A. prompted a salute from Mayor Eric Garcetti.

“The signing of this lease,” he said in a statement, “exemplifies the growing confidence in Los Angeles as the destination for innovative businesses.”