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BBCN Bank to set up its headquarters in Wilshire Colonnade

January 29, 2012|By Roger Vincent
  • The Wilshire Colonnade, a marble-clad complex at 3731 Wilshire Blvd., will soon be the headquarters of BBCN Bank, the nation's largest Korean American bank.
The Wilshire Colonnade, a marble-clad complex at 3731 Wilshire Blvd.,… (Arkasha Stevenson / Los…)

The largest Korean American bank in the country will soon be ensconced in a Wilshire Boulevard office complex built decades ago by one of Southern California’s most storied financial institutions.

BBCN Bank, formed in a November merger between Nara Bank and Center Bank, will make its headquarters in Wilshire Colonnade. The marble-clad complex at 3731 Wilshire Blvd. built in the early 1970s by H.F. Ahmanson & Co., parent company of Home Savings & Loan Assn. was formerly known as Ahmanson Center.

BBCN Bank’s lease extends the former Nara’s existing lease for 44,000 square feet and adds 18,400 square feet for expansion to accommodate the merged staff of Center Bank, said real estate broker Norman Y. Lee of Studley Inc.

Terms of the 10-year deal were not disclosed, but landlord Wilshire Colonnade Corp. is asking for $2 per square foot a month, according to real estate data provider CoStar Group.

The Wilshire Colonnade complex consists of two 11-story office buildings flanking a public plaza that housed Ahmanson’s headquarters when Home Savings was one of the country’s largest savings and loan associations.

Ahmanson imported nearly 2,000 tons of white travertine marble from Italy to clad the buildings and 2,000 cubic feet of white Pentelic marble from Greece — the same as was used in the Parthenon — for the 86 arches in the ground level colonnade.

Home Savings bank branches were also imposing. Clad in light marble and adorned with a mosaic mural and a gilded shield, they were among the most easily recognizable commercial buildings in Southern California.

Ahmanson was acquired by Washington Mutual in 1998. In 2008, JPMorgan Chase & Co. bought WaMu, and some former Ahmanson branches are now Chase banks.

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