Two law firms make long-term office deals in Los Angeles


Two large law firms have agreed to long-term office leases — one in downtown Los Angeles and one in Century City.

Greenberg Traurig will move to Century City from Santa Monica in April, and Alston & Bird has agreed to a long-term lease in a skyscraper on downtown’s Bunker Hill.

Greenberg Traurig will rent 70,000 square feet in four floors including the penthouse at 1840 Century Park East, according to real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc.


The 19th-floor penthouse will have a “sky lobby” and conference center that will hold approximately 100 people, said Matt Gorson, president of the Miami law firm.

“We believe the new office will foster a collaborative work environment,” he said.

Terms of the 15-year deal with landlord California State Teachers’ Retirement System were not announced, but property experts familiar with Westside rents valued it at about $44 million.

Downtown is another top location for law firms, and one of its most prominent buildings is Bank of America Plaza, where Alston & Bird has changed its status from subtenant to tenant and expanded slightly to 80,000 square feet on three floors, according to landlord Brookfield Office Properties Inc.

Alston & Bird is working on a major renovation of its downtown offices, where the firm has been for more than a decade, said Thomas J. Wingard, managing partner of the Atlanta firm’s Los Angeles office.

Terms of the lease were not released, but real estate experts familiar with the downtown market valued it at about $30 million.

Bank of America Plaza, a 55-story tower at 333 S. Hope St. with more than 1.5 million square feet of office space, is 96% leased, said John Barganski of Brookfield.


Overall vacancy in downtown Los Angeles, now at about 19%, will increase this year as some companies reduce their office space, predicted real estate broker Tony Morales of Jones Lang LaSalle, who represented Alston & Bird.

Less creative space available on L.A.’s Westside

Growing demand from creative businesses such as film and TV post-production, new-media, advertising and technology firms resulted in 2011 in the greatest net absorption of creative office space on Los Angeles County’s Westside since the start of the recession, a report said.

Last year, more than 500,000 square feet of offices were taken off the market, the highest annual net absorption since 2006 and a 32% increase over 2010, real estate brokerage Industry Partners said.

The firm describes creative space as an adaptive reuse of an existing commercial or industrial building predating 1970 or new construction meant to convey a similar look and feel. There is about 17.5 million square feet of creative office space on the Westside, with vacancy at 12.7% in the fourth quarter, down from 16.1% a year earlier.

Although Westside landlords continue to renovate and redevelop buildings to make creative office space, that will only offset the expected loss of as much as 1 million square feet over the next few years, according to the Industry Partners report.


Several buildings along Colorado Boulevard in Santa Monica will be demolished to make way for the Expo Line light rail line. Other creative offices are slated for demolition to make way for an even hotter category of real estate in the seaside city: apartments.

Van Nuys apartment tower is sold

A Van Nuys apartment building named after a Navy chaplain was sold for more than $15 million to a provider of affordable housing for the elderly.

Fickett Towers, a 200-unit senior housing complex at 14801 Sherman Way, was acquired by California Commercial Investment Co., real estate broker H. Bruce Hanes of Hanes Investment Realty Inc. said. The seller was Shepard of the Hills Church of Porter Ranch.

The 12-story Fickett Towers was completed in 1973 and named after Harold Lord Fickett, the former senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Van Nuys. First Baptist was at one point the largest church west of the Mississippi and had a membership of more than 14,000.

Fickett was the youngest Navy chaplain in World War II, Hanes said.

California Commercial of Westlake Village owns and manages more than 4,000 senior apartment units in 21 states, said Tom A. Lungin, the company’s director of acquisitions.