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Work Begins on New Building at Howard Hughes Center

Construction: 1.3 million square feet of office space is planned for Westchester site.


The early phases of construction have begun on a 10-story office building in Howard Hughes Center, where developers are planning to add 1.3 million square feet of office space and a giant entertainment center.

Development partners Arden Realty Inc., a Beverly Hills-based real estate investment trust, and Lowe Enterprises, a real estate investment and management firm headquartered in Brentwood, said the $55-million building in Westchester will be ready for occupancy early next year. The site is being graded, and construction on the foundation is expected to begin soon, according to Rick Newman of Lowe Enterprises, which is managing the project's construction.

Several of the center's tenants have indicated interest in occupying all or part of the 250,000-square-foot structure, according to Victor Coleman, president of Arden, which purchased 45 acres of Howard Hughes Center last year. However, no leases for the new building have been signed.

"There is a lot of interest from financial and professional tenants," Coleman said. In addition, there has been a recent surge in inquiries from telecommunications firms, he said.

The new building is one of the few major office projects that will open on the Westside in the next 18 months. In addition, construction on new buildings and homes is expected to begin later this year on the massive Playa Vista project nearby.

The office structure--designed by McLarand, Vasquez & Partners--will be located across the street from the 250,000-square-foot Howard Hughes Entertainment Complex, which will feature a 22-screen movie theater and an IMAX theater owned and operated by Edwards Theatres Circuit Inc.

J.H. Snyder Co., the developer of the entertainment complex, is in escrow to buy the site from Arden and plans to break ground within 30 days, said Cliff Goldstein, a Snyder partner.

"It's a wonderful match," said Snyder of the entertainment complex and office space at Howard Hughes Center.

Arden and Lowe Enterprises plan to eventually add two more structures--four-story and 12-story office buildings--adjacent to the building now underway, Newman said.

Howard Hughes Center, which is located alongside the San Diego Freeway, includes the Northpoint office building; the 6701 Tower, occupied by tenant Blue Shield; and a Spectrum health and fitness club.

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