Fandango Inc., one of the nation's leading movie ticketing websites, is planning to nearly double the size of its Los Angeles headquarters.
The company will also move up -- literally -- in May as it departs 17,800 square feet of offices on the ground floor for 30,000 square feet on the fourth floor in the same building at 12200 W. Olympic Blvd., real estate brokers said.
"Fandango's business has been steadily growing since moving into our current office in 2003," Rick Butler, the company's chief operating officer, said last week.
With its lease set to expire this year, Fandango started looking for more space.
"We had a strong preference to remain on the Westside, so we were pleased when presented an opportunity to stay in the building," Butler said.
The price of the lease wasn't disclosed, but real estate professionals familiar with the office market valued it at close to $7 million. Fandango's offices are in the Westside Media Center, a three-building complex at Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive.
Fandango.com sells tickets online for films at major theater chains, including Edwards Theatres, Regal Cinemas and AMC Loews. Fandango is a unit of Comcast Interactive Media, the digital division of Philadelphia-based cable giant Comcast Corp.
The Westside office market has been volatile for the last few years. Rents soared during the mid-2000s as the economy prospered. Landlords who had recently purchased buildings raised their leasing rates to keep up with their mortgage payments.
Then the credit crunch and recession hit. Office sales and leasing stalled.
"Nothing happened in the second half of 2008 and first half of 2009," said real estate broker David Toomey of CresaPartners, who represented Fandango in the transaction.
Many tenants saw their businesses suffer and were unwilling to pay Westside rental rates, which are generally the highest in Los Angeles County. Some landlords were asking for as much as $6.75 a square foot per month during the peak, Toomey said.
"It took about a year for landlords and tenants to come together," Toomey said.
Westside rents are now down substantially. According to brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, the average monthly rent sought by Westside landlords in the fourth quarter was $3.43 a square foot, down from $4.12 in the same period a year earlier.
"The market has been in transition," Toomey said.