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Joining the Playa Vista crowd

Ad heavyweight Rubin Postaer likes the vibe of the neighborhood.

September 26, 2008|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

The biggest independent advertising agency headquartered in California, Rubin Postaer & Associates, has agreed to move its offices to the Playa Vista neighborhood in one of the largest leases in the region this year.

The ad agency, now in Santa Monica, will pay about $200 million over 15 years to occupy most of a former post office distribution center that has been converted to offices on Jefferson Boulevard adjacent to the Playa Vista development.

Rubin Postaer will join a growing cluster of creative and tech businesses taking over a former industrial district south of Marina del Rey. Other firms that have recently signed large leases in Playa Vista are Fox Interactive Media, which oversees News Corp.'s Internet properties including My Space, and technology company Belkin International Inc.

"We like what's happening down there," said Vince Mancuso, chief financial officer of Rubin Postaer. "It's a dynamic, emerging market, and we just like the vibe. It seems like the place we ought to be."

The former U.S. Postal Service building is also cheaper to rent than offices in pricey Santa Monica, where the agency has been since 1991, Mancuso said. "It's a substantially better deal."

Rubin Postaer plans to move 575 employees into 227,000 square feet in November 2010 when a makeover of the former distribution center is complete, said co-Chairman Gerry Rubin. He declined to estimate how much the improvements would cost, but said the redesign should meet environmental standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The ad agency has several clients that are active in environmentally friendly technology, including American Honda Motor Co., Rubin said. Other clients include Acura, La-Z-Boy, MGM and Pentax.

Converting old industrial buildings such as the 1975-era postal center to offices "gives creative companies the chance to brand themselves through their real estate," said Mark Sullivan of Studley, one of the brokers who represented Rubin Postaer in the deal with landlord Lionstone Group.

A few years ago, for example, architect Frank Gehry converted a former auto manufacturing building nearby into headquarters for his firm.

The ad agency is a welcome tenant in the neighborhood, in part because it shouldn't generate nearly as much traffic at the site as a large retailer could, said Steve Soboroff, president of Playa Vista. "This is better than a big box. It's a great co-use for us."

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roger.vincent@latimes.com

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