November 25, 2015
To Connect with leading executives, join us next week on Dec. 2 at Connect Westside Los Angeles in Beverly Hills.
Phil Cyburt joined Laurus Corp. as chief executive officer four years ago, after more than two decades of experience in high-profile banking and real estate roles. He managed the global real estate and development interests of two Fortune 500 companies: Boeing Realty Corp., and McDonnell Douglas Realty Co. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles-based firm marked its first entry into the retail market when it acquired the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center. Cyburt shared with Connect Media how Laurus Corporation plans to start revitalizing the retail property on Los Angeles’ Westside in January 2016.
What are some highlights of Laurus Corporation’s recent real estate activities?
Laurus Corp. focuses on opportunistic investments in assets across a number of real estate sectors including hospitality, office and retail. We’ve built up a $1-billion portfolio in four years, and have done a good job of balancing our acquisition activities. Through our private equity fund, Ethika Investments, LLC, we’ve been able to successfully compete in the marketplace.
What were some of the drivers behind your decision to acquire the asset?
One of the primary drivers behind our acquisition of the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center is the fact that it is the gateway to Playa Vista. It is tough nationally to find 250,000 square feet of retail space located at entrance of one of the largest growth markets in the country. There are 3,000 multifamily units going up nearby on Jefferson Blvd., which will increase the demographic base significantly. Over the last five years, the Playa Vista market has transformed the area. It has come along so well that technology and media companies have moved to consolidate in Playa Vista. In the near term, we think that will produce the highest office rents in the Greater L.A. area at the peak of the next cycle.
Retail is rebounding as well. The Runway came online and is achieving rents triple of what rents were at Howard Hughes Center’s retail component. So we saw rent growth as a tremendous opportunity for us at the Promenade, along with the chance to acquire a significant footprint in a great location with excellent freeway visibility.
What are your plans for the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center?
We plan to initiate a $30-million redevelopment of the Promenade in early 2016 that is designed to create a destination retail center that captures tenant growth and appeals to the customer base on the Westside. We’ve been working closely with the Jerde Partnership on an architectural program that addresses every aspect of the customer experience from the moment they arrive at the parking garage and begin exploring the multi-level center.
What specific aspects will you change at the Promenade?
We’re looking to soften the hard surfaces of the Art-Deco style in order to make the center more inviting. The four entry portals into the parking areas will serve as prominent and inviting arrival points. We are confident a new pedestrian-friendly layout with more indoor-outdoor connections, vibrant courtyards, enhanced landscaping and updated interior design throughout the six-acre property will allow the Promenade to truly emerge as a destination lifestyle center.
How will you update the tenant mix to closer reflect the changing community demographics?
The tenant mix will also be upgraded at the Promenade. We’re expecting to introduce a more upscale restaurant, along with new entertainment concepts not found on the West Coast, which will add dramatic and interesting elements.
By removing hard areas and incorporating destination features we’ll create a center where people want to come shop, have fun, get some great food and spend time.
We listened to the community and they let us know the asset needed to better reflect its personality. We’re focused on making those changes in the future version of the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center.