9 Reasons Why You Should Move Your Corporate HQ To Los Angeles
Like Willie Wonka’s golden ticket, Amazon’s HQ2 request for proposals has sent cities into a frenzy to prove their worth to the e-commerce giant. The winning city must fulfill a lengthy wish list that calls for on-site mass transit access, proximity to an urban population center and access to recreational opportunities, among other demands.
The RFP has competing cities evaluating quality of life for potential Amazon employees and for other companies looking for an urban live-work-play experience. Among the contenders, Los Angeles has emerged as a growing hub for businesses with similar desires for an urban workspace.
From improved transportation to a potential tourism boom from the 2028 Olympics, DLA Piper Real Estate & Land Use Group associate Noel Hyun presents nine reasons why the City of Angels meets the needs of a modern corporate HQ.
1. A resurgence in urban living
Companies with offices close to housing, retail and other amenities attract and retain talent. Los Angeles neighborhoods like Downtown LA and Culver City have undergone recent transformations to fit that model, as young professionals nationwide continue to migrate away from the suburbs to denser, urban areas. Ivy Station, a 5.2-acre infill property adjacent to the Expo Line, will bring a total 500K SF of offices, apartments, stores, restaurants and a hotel to Culver City.
Infill development has fueled the transition to urban living. Thousands of housing units came online in Downtown LA following the city’s Adaptive Reuse Ordinance in 1999. Now, ground-up infill projects are adding to the housing supply, reducing rental rates in growing neighborhoods.
2. Public transportation is on the upswing
LA has a reputation for being car-dependent. Thanks to efforts from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and voters to improve public transportation, that perception has started to change. Voters approved the passage of Measure M, the second multiyear, multibillion-dollar and countywide ballot measure aimed at investing in LA’s public transit infrastructure.
The measure calls for improved rail and rapid transit systems, local street upgrades and bike and pedestrian connections to transit. Ridership numbers are ahead of the projected pace.
3. California sunshine
Los Angeles has 284 days of sunshine, and boasts a Sperling comfort index of 87 of 100, where a higher score indicates a more comfortable year-round climate. The abundant sunshine allows employees to take advantage of perks like outdoor workspaces and recreational activities throughout the year.
4. The 2028 Olympics will bring a wave of visitors and innovative development
LA reached a deal this summer to host the 2028 Olympics and city residents are already reaping the benefits. The deal with the International Olympic Committee includes an advance payment of $160M for supporting youth sports programs.
The Los Angeles real estate community is expecting the boom in visitors for the games to continue to boost the market, as preparations fuel commercial real estate development. Developers have been emboldened to develop high-quality projects while building smarter. LA’s bid to the IOC made it clear that it would reuse existing sports infrastructure created for its universities and professional sports teams, like the LA Rams.
City officials will focus on encouraging innovative, transit-oriented developments that will benefit the city long after the Olympic torch stops burning. Nearly 7,629 residential units and 4,238 hotel rooms are expected to deliver in the next three years, according to JLL.
5. A deep talent pool for both entry-level and professional job seekers
Los Angeles is the 22nd most visited city in the world, with 50 million annual visitors. Its position as an international tourism and commerce hub has created a diverse spread of jobs in the service industry, ranging from food and hospitality to legal and finance. With a worker base of almost 5 million people, companies moving to LA will find the employees they need.
6. Leading academic institutions
Institutions like the University of California Los Angeles, the University of Southern California and CalTech help grow LA as a center for innovation. Community colleges and schools like TradeTech also fuel development of a skilled labor workforce.
7. Los Angeles is the media and entertainment capital of the world
In the bidding war for Amazon HQ2, Los Angeles has one clear advantage: Amazon Studios. As digital media continues to grow as a major industry and as a significant marketing platform, companies leveraging video and creative services need to be near locations with production capacity. LA, by way of Hollywood, has long been the film capital of the world, and has attracted modern content producers like Netflix. Tech companies like Snap Inc. have eschewed the high costs of Silicon Valley to set up shop in the more affordable, amenity-packed Silicon Beach.
8. Land values are more affordable relative to other core markets
New York continues to be the most expensive construction market in the world, outpacing other markets like London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. While material, labor and land costs are rising in Los Angeles, by comparison, the city offers a lower barrier to entry for developers than other core markets.
9. A socially responsible population and local government
Los Angeles has proven its commitment to social responsibility. Almost 70% of residents voted to pass Measure M, which will increase sales tax by a half-cent. The community also supported Measure H and Proposition HHH, initiatives aimed at solving homelessness. Supported by active leadership in the municipal government, LA residents live in an environment where employees are part of more than a corporate machine, and have the power to create positive change in their communities.
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