“Not Your Father’s Pico”: New Amenities Surround 10951 Pico Building

Several new amenities have opened that are situated close to our 10951 Pico Boulevard building in West Los Angeles.  Some of them include the Landmark Theatres and restaurants and bars such as the Westside Tavern, The Wellesbourne, and Bossa Nova.  The Landmark, located inside the Westside Pavilion mall, is one of America’s largest chains dedicated to independent films.  It endorses a diverse group of foreign, indie, and, of course, Hollywood films.  Like other theaters, you can reserve tickets and seats online prior to the movie showing.

Just next to the Landmark, Westside Tavern is a modern, trendy American restaurant and bar.  Westside Tavern is the creation of Chef Warren Schwartz who is also the creator of the Saddle Peak Lodge, Patina, and Whist.

books wellesbourne

Interior of The Wellesbourne

The Wellesbourne is an old-English style lounge known for its hip, energetic atmosphere with inventive cocktails, cool furniture, and shelves of books.  Wellesbourne is packed on Friday and Saturday nights with Gen Ys, and if you’re lucky, you may even catch a live band performing at night.

Originally from the Sunset Blvd Hollywood area, Bossa Nova is now available on Pico for Westside hipsters.  It is the place to go for authentic Brazilian cuisine.  Start off with popular appetizers like cheese bread or plaintains, indulge in a hearty entree of fish or steak, and end with the Passion Fruit Mousse.

In addition to all of these newer amenities, the Westside Pavilion still includes many dining and shopping options just down the block, within walking distance of our 10951 Pico building.  With all the new and exciting amenities so close to the building, it is sure not to disappoint.  This is “not your Father’s Pico” anymore!

For more information, please check out our website.

How The Supply of Creative Office Space Can Expand Very Rapidly

The 2001 LA Times article, “More Westside Office Space Turns Up in Latest Tally,” discusses a study in 2001 by Grubb & Ellis that showed a significant underestimated supply of Westside office space due to creative office conversions.

Warehouse conversions to creative office space are small and numerous, making it extremely difficult to track. Likewise, supply statisticians may also underestimate  the supply of creative office space.  Conventional office space can be converted to creative office space for $50 to $80 per square foot in two to eight months by opening ceilings, exposing the structural architecture, and installing creative office features.  Because it is so easy for traditional office space to be converted into a creative office, the supply of creative office space can expand rapidly.

In Los Angeles, brokers call these spaces “soft creative” because they lack the full intrinsic drama of single level converted warehouses but can still provide the creative purpose for certain companies.  Currently, in San Francisco, owners are working feverishly to convert conventional offices as well as older moth ball buildings into creative spaces and vacant land into new highrise creative properties.

When it comes to creative space production, we are all “Houstons”. The last time around, the real estate investment and leasing community failed to accurately account for the full amount of creative office space.  The industry needs to count the supply more accurately this time and hope the demand increases and sustains with equal fervor.

RidePal: An Alternative for LA Commuters

The latest article from TechCrunch introduced RidePal, a company that recently received $500K from 500 startups.  RidePal is part of the collaborative consumption movement that originates out of social networking in the Bay Area. Referred to as a “Google Shuttle for the rest of us,” RidePal is an innovative idea that should also be brought to Los Angeles.  It has the potential to alleviate the parking conundrum and terrible commutes that plague Los Angelenos.  The service allows companies, employers, and building owners to share the cost of shuttle services to transport employees to and from work.

Image courtesy of RidePal’s website

RidePal is a system that offers shared commuting buses equipped with Wi-Fi as well as a ticketing, reservation, and management platform.  It currently uses a total of 15 routes that link San Francisco with the east bay, south bay, and peninsula.  RidePal partners with several bus companies and builds new routes based on the demands and needs of companies and their employees.  The shuttle program has been especially attractive for growing companies that are looking to expand their workforce because it is easier to retain and recruit employees from outside the area.

Not only is RidePal an eco-friendly method of transportation, but it also benefits both companies and employees.  Businesses that choose to bring this service to their employees don’t need to pay for the entire bus, but only pay for the capacity they need, which allows them to save costs.  For employees, RidePal offers the opportunity to spend their normal commuting hours surfing the Web, completing work, or just enjoying newly freed up time that was spent driving before.

If RidePal was brought to Los Angeles, Culver City, for example, could finally put to use their underutilized city and privately owned parking lots.  The shuttle bus would provide transportation at these parking lots as well as to the Expo stations.  It would only take one major employer without sufficient on-site parking and the Expo to begin this service to offsite parking lots and the Expo. The cost could be shared with other employers who want to also use a shuttle service for this purpose.

After San Francisco, RidePal aims to eventually bring their service to other top urban clusters.  Hopefully the program’s success in Northern California will influence companies in Los Angeles to take a second look into similar ride-sharing programs for their employees.

Culver City Evolves from Quiet Community to Urban Area; Gains a ‘Media for the Web’ Cluster

Maker Studios, a company that produces media content for the web, just signed a 50,000 square foot lease at 3562 Eastham Drive in Culver City.  Maker Studios joins other recent media-for-the web content companies in the Hayden Tract.  Several companies include Four Wall Studios, Mahalo, and Popsugar.  The cluster of these firms gives rise to a small community that could encourage other firms in this emerging industry to also seek office space in Culver City.

The success of these firms would also help create a new source of demand for Culver City creative space.  These media-for-the web firms join other creative office companies in Culver City that include digital advertising, entertainment, old media, and software firms.  A recent article from the Los Angeles Times discusses the success of Culver City and its challenges.  The addition of 1100 parking spaces at the Washington and La Cienega Expo stations helped convince these firms to locate in Culver City.  As some tech companies scale to 10 employees per 1000 square feet, the Expo line may provide one of the few ways for firms to help provide an alternative to parking to accommodate such density.

Culver City has transformed into one of main areas on the Westside that many tech and media tenants have been drawn to for creative office space.  In the second quarter of 2012, Culver City  had a net absorption of 16,000 square feet, with the asking rates for Class A and Class B space remaining constant from the first and second quarters of 2012.

The Future of Office Workspace: Less is More

Some may argue that office space in West Los Angeles has become too plentiful. Soft markets, when there is an excess of supply over demand, occur about 80% of the time.  Conversely, tight markets occur about 20% of the time.  Los Angeles brokers and building owners have to face the reality that demand has been decreasing over the last two decades.  This industry is very mature, and it may be time for a change.  As this article from CoStar Group points out, one of the changes that should be made in office design is to accommodate the needs of the next workforce generation.  Unfortunately, the next generation demands less, not more, office space per employee.

To add value to their properties, Westside Los Angeles office owners will need to design spaces that operate with greater efficiency.  They will also have to account for greater densities of employees in these spaces.  These two tasks need to be accomplished simultaneously while continuing to foster an interesting and creative atmosphere.  These environments will further promote collaboration and will have a positive effect on employees rather than sticking them in cubicle farms.

The Westside does not need more space, but simply better quality of space. Despite a 20% vacancy rate in Playa Vista, developers are planning to bring on another million square feet of office space in the next couple of years.  If the future workforce demands less space, one may question why this is being planned.  Investors, developers and owners have to ask themselves if they are meeting a tenant demand or investor demand.