Beverly Hills, a city known for its exclusive shopping, is making a new sales pitch: There's a lot more there than Rodeo Drive.
Members of the city's Far East Trade Commission recently spent a week in Tokyo and Hong Kong trying to lure wealthy businesses--especially in the entertainment industry--to Beverly Hills. On Tuesday, they gave highlights of their trip at the City Council meeting.
Although one of the reasons for the trip was to promote increased tourism to the city's hotels, restaurants and stores, the emphasis was on filling the city's vacant office space, estimated at about 25%. Nearly 300,000 square feet of office space remains empty because of the collapse of Beverly Hills giants Drexel Burnham Lambert and Columbia Savings & Loan.
City representatives, including Mayor Allan Alexander and Chamber of Commerce President Ed Brown, spent 11 days pitching the prestigious Beverly Hills locale to prospective tenants. The group met with executives from Sogo Yokohama, Japan's largest department store, 20th Century Fox Tokyo, National/Panasonic, Sony Media World, the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations, and the Japan External Trade Organization. The contingent also met with executives from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which recently purchased MCA Inc. for $6.59 billion in November.