Warner Center Corporate Park in Woodland Hills has been acquired by Adler… (Christina House, For the…)
A vast office park in Warner Center -- the white-collar business hub of the San Fernando Valley -- has been sold for an estimated $80 million to investors who see it as central to an evolving and increasingly dense commercial and residential community.
Emerging from ranch land along the Ventura Freeway in Woodland Hills, Warner Center has grown to be one of L.A.'s largest urban developments. Conceived in the mid-20th century as a downtown for the Valley, the area is now a sweeping complex of office parks, high-rises, apartments and shopping centers.
Today, as the automobile is losing some of its luster with urbanites, city planners envision a more pedestrian-friendly environment with thousands more residents and workers.
And the new owners of Warner Center Corporate Park expect to be part of the action as the area grows even larger and matures. The 12 low-rise buildings on 26 acres and another office property nearby were acquired by Adler Realty Investments Inc., a national real estate firm headquartered in the park, and LLJ Ventures.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday, May 18, 2013 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Murad Inc. move: An article in the May 16 Business section about skincare company Murad Inc. relocating its headquarters within El Segundo misidentified the real estate brokerage Newmark Grubb Knight Frank as Newmark Knight Grubb.
"It has a really nice campus style feel with trees and surface parking; a little unique for Warner Center," said the real estate firm's president, Michael Adler. "It's for people who don't want to be in a high-rise environment."
Warner Center was created on land once owned by Hollywood titan Harry Warner of Warner Bros.
Much of Warner Center, including the signature blue high-rises dominating its skyline, was built in the 1980s when planners bragged that it would become the Valley's version of Century City. Today, Warner Center has nearly 6.7 million square feet of offices, about two-thirds as much as Century City has.
Warner Center has continued to grow with apartment and retail projects completed in recent years, and more are on the way.
"It's the central business district of the Valley, and the economy there is very diversified," said real estate broker Kevin Shannon of CBRE Group Inc., who helped arrange the office park sale by Equity Office Properties Inc. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but experts familiar with the Valley market valued it at $80 million.
Tenants at Warner Center Corporate Park at Burbank Boulevard and De Soto Avenue include Allstate insurance, the Girl Scouts and SD Entertainment, Shannon said.
The property is zoned for additional commercial and multifamily residential development, but Adler will keep operating the office park as it is for the time being, he said.
L.A. planning officials recently endorsed a proposal to allow the addition of more than 37 million square feet of business and residential buildings to Warner Center by 2035. The creation of such density could address critics' assertions that Warner Center is too beholden to the automobile.
"In the 1980s it was considered the height of fashion to drive everywhere -- to work, to restaurants, to go to the bathroom," land use consultant Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution said. "What the market wants now is walk- able urban space."
Most of the newer projects in Warner Center are more pedestrian friendly, Adler said, such as apartment complexes that front on the sidewalk instead of a parking lot and have shops and restaurants on the ground floor.
Skin-care firm to relocate offices
Skin-care giant Murad Inc. will relocate its global headquarters to another site in El Segundo in a $35-million move.
The maker of beauty and health products sold in 41 countries agreed to lease 45,000 square feet in Continental Park, an office and retail complex near Los Angeles International Airport.
"We are growing in size," General Manager Richard Murad said, adding 50% more space than it has in its current offices nearby. The company will have about 350 employees in its headquarters when it moves from Rosecrans Avenue to 2121 Park Place early next year.
It will cost the company about $35 million to prepare its space in the new location and then rent it for 12 years, Murad said.
The business was founded in 1989 by dermatologist Howard Murad as a way to sell his skin-care formulas intended to combat the effects of aging, reduce acne and prevent sun damage. Richard Murad is his nephew.
Murad's flagship spa on Rosecrans Avenue will get a makeover but remain in place, Richard Murad said. The company also has a distribution center in Torrance.
The company's new landlord, Continental Development, started catering to the aerospace industry's need to expand in the 1950s. It now owns more than 3 million square feet of commercial space in El Segundo. It has added stores, restaurants and theaters to its office park in an effort to make the place more appealing to tenants.
Continental's Park Place historically held "back-office space," real estate broker David Kluth said, for companies that had their executive headquarters in more prominent locations.