December 11, 2015
According to The Downtown Center Business Improvement District’s (DCBID) Q3 market report, Downtown LA’s office leasing market is primed for growth. There was 1.18M SF of Office under construction and a vacancy rate of 18.4 percent for the quarter.
Connect Media caught up with Brookfield’s Vice President of Leasing James Malone and Leasing Manager Marin Turney to gain their perspective on the market’s status and hear what Brookfield is doing to keep up with the demand.
What major factors are contributing to the active leasing market downtown?
MT: The main driver is culture. Downtown has shifted culturally over the past 5-7 years, and it is now more attractive to a younger generation. There’s public transit, housing, and restaurants, which is causing substantial growth across architecture and engineering. Where one industry sector leads, the others will follow. Downtown is a mecca for construction right now.
What would you tell those who don’t believe downtown’s high-rises can handle the same types of tenants that the Westside market has seen?
JM: The culture and lifestyle that you have Downtown Los Angeles is different than what you see in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and the like. The infrastructure supports higher density. For example, if you live downtown, you don’t need a car, and people will change their behaviors to be here.
We also focus on how you build the inside of office building. We are looking at our common areas and our outdoor spaces to make those the best for these clients. For example, at the Bank of America plaza, we have 5-acres of open space; you can’t find that in Beverly Hills.
What are you doing to get ready for the new pile of tenants and the growing tenants who are looking outside of their normal bubble?
MT: On a global-micro level, we are creating market-ready spaces and can be more flexible with lease terms because the space can absorb additional capital after initial investment. Also, we look at opportunities inside our buildings to appeal to tenants.
This market is unique with deep-rooted history. It’s the little big city where everyone knows your name. It’s eight blocks of concentrated business opportunity that resembles New York and San Francisco. The Westside and South Bay don’t have this unique atmosphere where you can walk everywhere- it augurs well for both business and social development.
JM: The critical thing for us is that we need to make our environments compatible and conducive. All the while, we need to keep our current traditional tenants in mind, so we focus on the amenities that we have here. There’s nothing that you’re missing here, and a lot of people are noticing that. People who are not from LA who come to visit think that DTLA is cooler than those who live here.