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Nissan's old campus in South Bay gets 'flipped'

The site is renovated, divided up and sold to 11 companies. Now it's full of jobs again.

March 03, 2010|By Roger Vincent

Over the fence from Qual-Pro are the quiet offices of Highridge Costa Housing Partners. The developer of low-income housing turned a former Nissan loading dock into the entrance to its industrial-chic offices.

Across a parking lot in a 1960s brick building is the West Coast showroom of the Hause of Howe, a subsidiary of Seattle clothier Unionbay, where fashion designer Jade Howe's company works on men's clothing designs. Howe has described his premium sportswear line as "cowboy punk meets English country gentleman."

Nissan's cafeteria and gym have become headquarters to Pacific Transportation Federal Credit Union, which has served transportation workers since 1939. A $21.1-million revamp added upgrades such as a vault, safety deposit boxes and marble floors.

Moving from leased space in Pasadena gave the credit union "pride of ownership," said Controller Devric Thomas, and put it closer to a large pool of L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers based at a nearby facility.

Nissan is glad to have made the move to Tennessee, spokesman Fred Standish said. It has modern, energy-efficient buildings for about 1,200 employees that are closer to manufacturing plants and other Nissan facilities. About 43% of Nissan's South Bay employees made the journey, he said.

Standish, who lived in Irvine, couldn't think of much that he missed about the Los Angeles area besides the climate. "We just had quite a snowstorm," he said.

Living in Tennessee is cheaper, Standish said, and his commute is shorter.

"The weather isn't the same," he said. "Neither is the cost of living."

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