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What's Next for Century City

Los Angeles

Century City is undergoing a seismic transformation—from a business and retail center into a true work/live/play environment. That's why we're holding our second Future of Century City event, June 26 at Constellation Place to learn what's in store for LA's "other" downtown.

LA Realty Partners principal Gary Weiss (with wife Tari, daughter Bronte, and son Trevor at this year's Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation gala—he's on the board of the LA Chapter) is the ideal moderator for our lifestyle panel. After 23 years of living in the 'burbs north of LA and commuting to the office, as of two weeks ago he bought a condo in Century City. Not only can he now walk to work—"How many people in Los Angeles can actually say that?" (do people in LA even know what walking is or is it just something they've seen people do on TV?)—he and Tari have great restaurants, hotels, and high-end retail shops within a couple minutes of their residence. Outside of work, Gary's passionate about four things: his family first, a tie between wine and coffee, and food.

Johnson Fain design partner Scott Johnson says the firm's been fortunate to have a roll of tall buildings in Century City over the recent past. "They've been fun to design and we've had great clients." A current project teams Scott up once again with JMB Realty: Century City Center. (Admirable alliteration.) He calls the project an extraordinary opportunity for cutting-edge companies who are demanding "state-of-the-art work environments in the heart of an increasingly amenitized community." The 37-story tower aims to be LA's first LEED Platinum skyscraper with many strategies never before seen in this market. Of particular note, the tower itself is highly faceted, with each wall designed differently to respond to its particular solar orientation. (Which is more scientific and less astrological than it seems.)

Scott and JMB also collaborated on our event venue (Who needs GPS? To get to Constellation Place, just follow this on the Westside skyline). The building was completed more than a decade ago. Lots has changed: like the focus on creative space, a greater range of informal indoor and outdoor amenities, and a growing environmental awareness. That said, Scott recently took an overseas client through Constellation Place. After the tour, "he thought the building was brand new." (LA Realty Partners is the leasing agent for Constellation Place. Gary says demand has picked up significantly since the first of the year, with more than 250k SF of active proposals—renewals as well as new tenants.)

And who can forget Scott's design for another iconic Century City building: Nakatomi, er, Fox Plaza, which was famously roughed up in Die Hard. We cheekily asked if the movie inspired for him any new ideas about making buildings safer. Noting that tall buildings are an American invention, he points to many quiet adjustments in the security menu of high-rises over the past few years, from exiting systems to electronic entry tech and protocols to "the disassociation of subterranean parking and tower floor plates." 


Century City Chamber of Commerce president Susan Bursk (with CBRE's Jim Kruse and LA City Controller Ron Galperin at the Chamber's Citizen of the Year Awards dinner) calls the former Hollywood backlot a city within a city and a huge economic engine for LA. A few of the Chamber's latest initiatives: Last year, it put on Century City's first-ever public art exhibition with the second one underway; the city's first branding initiative; and continued advocacy for a subway. The alignment that's been approved has been looked at since the '60s. With the development of Century City, some 28,000 employees work within a quarter-mile radius.