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Kilroy Calls 'Action' in Hollywood

Los Angeles

Hollywood has recast itself as a creative office center, and Kilroy Realty is one of the major players. (Their offices are more creative than their movies.) The company recently unveiled its design for its latest Hollywood project: the Academy site near Sunset and Vine.

Yesterday, we snapped EVP David Simon, who's in the director's chair for the Academy project. It will be a 475k SF creative media mixed-use office campus with a total investment of up to $300M. Kilroy unofficially calls the project the Academy, but "as we say in Hollywood, it's a working title." The company acquired the site from The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Q4 '13 for $46M. (They can start all their press releases: "We'd like to start by thanking the Academy...") The seller had intended the site for a museum but decided to build the project next to the LACMA complex on Miracle Mile. About 45k SF of buildings exist on the site, which also includes a "great outdoor space" where AMPAS showed classic movies in the summer.

The project site enjoys a location at the epicenter of Hollywood: a full city block bounded by Vine, DeLongpre, Ivar, and Homewood. The campus will feature three four-story creative office buildings with 20k SF of ground-level retail and a 23-story residential tower containing about 250 units and "phenomenal views," David says. About 40% of the four-acre site will be dedicated to open space. (The kind of place a writer can sit and make sure people see him writing.) A large public gathering area at Vine and DeLongpre will feature public art and most of the retail.

Making a creative environment for the Millennial workforce is key to a successful project, David says. It's not just about the physical space, but a place that allows creative, collaborative people to get together in different areas of the complex. Designed by Shimoda Design Group, the campus' terraced office buildings (ranging from 76k to 100k SF) will allow tenants their own personal identity space (think private entrances and outdoor meeting areas). A series of landscaped passageways winding through the campus will connect the buildings. (And a giant billboard with what appears to be '80s pop singer Taylor Dayne on it.) House Robertson is the executive architect.

Submarkets like Culver City and Santa Monica quickly became the stars of the creative office world, while Hollywood, which David says has always had creative space, "might have come a little bit later"—hampered by a shortage of high-quality, functional Class-A space, which prompted companies to relocate to the Westside. However, he notes Hollywood's been going through a gentrification and now has all the underpinnings of a vibrant, urban office market, including public transit, amenities, and workforce housing. (After all, you can't shoot a movie without extras, CGI notwithstanding.)

From David's office on the 22nd Floor at Sunset Media Center, we snapped the Columbia Square construction site comprising a full city block, where "some major leases should be announced very soon," he says. The project got underway on spec and has received a ton of activity (if it were a movie, Bruce Willis would be the star). He anticipates the majority of the space will be leased by completion. Hoilywood's Class-A office vacancy rate is in the single-digit, 6% to 7% range.

We snapped back our head to snap this of Sunset Media Center (6255 Sunset), Kilroy's 22-story "vertical campus." As for the Academy site, construction's slated to begin in Q1 '16. For pups and their people who care about the environment, the project has been designed for LEED Gold and David says tenants "absolutely" will be able to bring their dogs to work. (Time to bring Lassie or Benjy back to the silver screen?)