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Building to Showcase Japanese Products : Kajima International Offices to Locate in L. A. Corporate Center

October 05, 1986|EVELYN De WOLFE | Times Staff Writer

The $15-million Kajima International headquarters, under construction at Los Angeles Corporate Center in Monterey Park, will showcase for American builders a variety of Japanese-originated products and how they function in a project built to American standards.

This first U. S joint-venture project of Kajima International and Sumitomo Corp., located on a three-acre site at 901 Corporate Center Drive, is planned as a five-story structure with 101,000 square feet of rentable space.

Designed by Kajima Associates, the architectural design subsidiary of Kajima International, the project is described by firm principal Kam Morimoto as "an opportunity to experiment with innovative building materials."

Ceramic Tile Exterior

The building will be sheathed in heat-reflective ceramic tiles manufactured by Inax Corp. and distributed by Kowa of California of Torrance, he said. The tiles are mounted on 8x15-inch panels and fitted onto a metal framework, thus eliminating the need for pre-cast concrete panels and reducing the weight factor.

The surface of the "luster finish" tiles, Morimoto explained, is a special metallic film over a gray glaze that reflects light changes throughout the day and mirrors the surrounding landscape and structures on its surface.

"This type of tile has come into wide use in Japan in the last decade but has not been widely seen in the United States," Morimoto added, noting that the Japanese have always used tile as a building element for its qualities of permanence and beauty, mostly on the centuries-old rooftops throughout Japan.

Fiber-Reinforced Plastic

In recent years, Morimoto noted, Japan has also made widespread use of fiber-reinforced plastic, fashioned as complete bathroom units, in apartments as well as hotels.

"At Los Angeles Corporate Center, we are also working with another product, the reflective glass known as Refshine, which has optimum solar-control performance," Morimoto said.

Occupants of the building will have access to a small private patio area designed around a water fountain for relaxing and snacking. It will be located between the main building and a three-story parking structure with space for four cars per 1,000 square feet of building space.

Partnership of 2 Firms

The Kajima-Sumitomo building will have the first state-of-the-art micro-processor-controlled elevators in the Los Angeles area, providing minimum vibration and noise levels.

The partnership of Sumitomo and Kajima brings together two leading U. S. companies associated with firms in Japan. Sumitomo Corp. of America, with 50 subsidiaries and branch offices in 82 countries, was established 35 years ago as a New York corporation and a 100% subsidiary of Sumitomo Corp., one of Japan's five largest integrated trading companies, with a gross annual trading volume of $53 billion for 1985.

Following years of major residential and office-building development in Japan, Sumitomo launched a program of U. S. real-estate activity early in the 1980s and has already developed the 200,000-square-foot Central Pacific Bank Plaza office building in downtown Honolulu, several warehouse and distribution centers for Mazda and has acquired property for development in Manhattan.

Kajima International Inc., a design-building firm with headquarters in Los Angeles and in Fort Lee, N. J., has designed and built projects in 20 states in this country in the past 22 years.

The company designed and will build the $2.1-million World Trade Center in Long Beach. Other Southland projects include the Weller Court shopping plaza, the Japan America Theatre and the New Otani Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, the Nissan U. S. headquarters in Carson, and the Sanyo E & E Corp. manufacturing complex in San Diego.

Kajima has targeted the move from its building at 1st and San Pedro streets to the Los Angeles Corporate Center site for next January, a decision based on its accessibility to the central business core of Los Angeles and its linkage to the Pomona, Long Beach and San Bernardino freeways which border the center, a development with 548,000 square feet of office buildings in a 110-acre landscaped setting.

Kajima International will occupy one floor of the new building and will lease the other four through the City of Industry offices of Coldwell Banker Commercial Real Estate Services.

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