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John Kilroy's $1.5B Plan to Transform the West Coast

This could be the Golden Era of John Kilroy, as the mega-developer is in the process of seeing through several projects that will completely reshape the West Coast. Bisnow caught up with John and got the latest on some of the biggest developments he's working on in LA.

John Kilroy's Kilroy Realty has already signed 890k SF space this year.

John's got $1.5B invested in current project and tells Bisnow exclusively there are effectively no equity partners or debt involved. "I’m 66 years old and having the time of my life,” says the Kilroy Realty Corp chief. We caught up with John after the Allen Matkins “View From the Top” conference this week and he was gushing over the various creative office, mixed-use projects his company is developing, from Seattle to San Diego, which includes two developments in Hollywood, both of which are targeting LEED Platinum. “Media and tech companies are transforming real estate in revolutionary ways,” John told us. “These are not your father’s office buildings.” 

The furthest along is Columbia Square, a $485M, 675K SF mixed-use creative media village scheduled for completion in early 2016. Designed by locally based Rios Clementi Hale Studios, development is underway on the 4.7-acre Hollywood campus of the legendary CBS studios, which operated from 1938 to 2007. Two historic buildings at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street serve as a vintage backdrop for new upscale development planned there.

Neuehouse, a creative workspace collaborative that John calls, “WeWork on steroids," will occupy a total of 93k SF in the six-story West Coast CBS HQ building, as well as a smaller building. John says build-out includes open spaces for collaboration and sound stages for production, in addition to about 25k SF of curated, five-star restaurants with frontage on Sunset.

In a deal John calls game changing, Viacom has signed a 12-year lease for about 180k SF in a new six-story, 365k SF building at the project, where it will consolidate five of its cable properties—MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, BET and Spike TV—which are currently scattered throughout the LA region. The firm is expected to move its assets to the building in phases, beginning in the middle of next year. John tells Bisnow only blockbuster entertainment media tenants will be considered for the building’s remaining 100k SF. (Hollywood creative office rents are now comparable to Santa Monica.)

John also gave us the latest on Hollywood Proper Residences, a 21-story, residential tower that will be managed by newly formed Proper Hospitality, a division of Kor Group. The project consists of 200 ultra-luxury units, half of which will be extended-stay hotel suites that cater to actors, producers and directors temporarily working on projects in LA. He tells Bisnow the top floor has four 2,400 SF, spectacularly furnished penthouses that rent for $25k per month. The rooftop, which offers sweeping views from the Hollywood Hills to the ocean, will have resort-style amenities, including a pool, cabanas, and a bar with food and entertainment.

There's also the $300M Academy Square, scheduled for completion in early 2018. The mixed-use is designed by House & Robertson Architects of Culver City, and occupies a city block just south of Sunset. The four-acre campus adjacent to the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences includes three, four-story creative office buildings; a 23-story apartment tower; and retail amenities, including a 40k SF supermarket, and restaurants.

Designed by Joey Shimoda of Shimoda Design Group, the terraced creative-office configuration makes a dramatic transition to the street. The largest of the three office structures, which is 100k SF, is designed as a modern version of mid-century bow-truss architecture. John tells us office tenants will likely be a blend of entertainment and tech, or hybrids of the two. “Many tech companies are involved in the entertainment industry,” he says. "It’s now all interconnected.”

The residential tower is on the northwest corner of the site. About 40% of the site is dedicated to open space, and shops, restaurants and bars are along landscaped passageways through the campus' center.