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Skanska Launches First Commercial Development Practice In Los Angeles; Acquires Beverly Hills Site

Skanska is expanding its footprint in the U.S.

After years of exploring development opportunities and opening an office in the Los Angeles market, the multinational global development and construction firm Skanska has announced it has launched a commercial real estate development division to be based in downtown Los Angeles and the acquisition of its first project in Beverly Hills.

Skanska's 9000 Wilshire Blvd. project in Beverly Hills

Skanska Commercial Development, the commercial real estate development arm of Sweden-based Skanska, has recently moved into a 13K SF office at the U.S. Bank Tower.

Former Ratkovich Co. executive Clare De Briere, who joined Skanska last year, will lead the team of six employees so far. This is Skanska's fifth commercial real estate development division in the US, and second on the West Coast. The company has offices in Boston, Houston, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.

"It was the right time," Skanska Commercial Development Executive Vice President and Regional Manager De Briere said to Bisnow about opening in LA. "LA has always been on the radar. We've always looked at markets where we had a strong presence with our construction offices. 

"It just makes sense," De Briere added. "They've made huge investment in mass transits, there are places that have been overlooked that are going to be strong places and there is an incredibly strong and diverse economy in Los Angeles."

She said with a downturn expected to come in the near future and little office stock in the city and county, now was the right time "to jump in the LA market."

"After having worked for a more traditional private real estate development company,  downturns are difficult because of financing," she said. "We don't have those constrictions. I see a downturn as a great opportunity to buy property at a reasonable price and start building something on spec so that when the economy starts to turn [up], we'll have shiny new buildings."

De Briere said she and her team are ready to get to work. She will be responsible for land acquisition, the development and design of new projects, tenant leasing strategy and execution of future projects, according to her company bio.

Skanska Executive Vice President Clare De Briere

Along with the opening of the commercial real estate division, the company has acquired its first commercial development in Beverly Hills

Skanska has acquired a two-parcel lot totaling about 14K SF at 9000 Wilshire Blvd. in the Golden Triangle area of Beverly Hills. According to commercial real estate data site Reonomy, 9000 Wilshire LLC sold the building. The price of the site was not yet recorded. 

The lot has already been permitted and entitled. Skanska plans to build a three-story, 40K SF office building. Neil M. Denari Architects designed the building

De Briere said the office building will be "iconic."

"It's an incredibly designed building. It's gorgeous," De Briere said. "It is currently LEED Gold but we're hoping to make it LEED Platinum ... It's a beautiful jewel box building.

"It's a great location right in the heart of Beverly Hills and a few blocks from the metro station," she added. "It's an iconic project, iconic building and iconic for a single-tenant looking to make a mark."

De Briere said with Skanska's new office and team, the Beverly Hills project will be one of many Skanska plans to develop in Los Angeles in the years to come. 

"LA is a world-class city," she said. "It's a city that is one of the most important in the world in so many aspects. ... This is an important gateway city. There is so much happening here and so much movement of every sort, we needed to have our foot here."