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Union Bank Renews Lease, Stays Downtown

March 28, 2000|From A Times Staff Writer

San Francisco-based Union Bank of California has agreed to renew its lease for about 327,000 square feet of space in a downtown Los Angeles high-rise.

The bank, one of downtown's largest tenants, maintains its Southern California headquarters in the 40-story building at the corner of Figueroa and Flower streets. Union Bank, which employs about 775 people downtown, cited the area's large labor pool and mass transportation links for its reasons to stay.

Financial terms of the 10-year lease were not released.

In light of the fragile nature of the downtown office market, brokers hailed the renewal as a sign of confidence in the central core, which has been hard hit by corporate mergers and acquisitions.

"This is a milestone as Union Bank of California reconfirms its commitment to the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles," said Robert A. Ortiz, a broker at Cushman Realty Corp., which represented the bank in the leasing negotiations. The building is owned by a joint venture of Nippon Life Insurance and Equitable Life Insurance.

The downtown vacancy rate at the end of 1999 stood at 20%, up from 14.9% a year earlier, according to real estate services firm Julien J. Studley Inc.

The Union Bank renewal comes only a few weeks after law firm Skadden Arps also agreed to stay in its Bunker Hill offices after exploring alternatives on the Westside.

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