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The Next Big Thing? (Part 1)

We’ve told you about Playa Vista, Culver City, and of course we’ve long been watching Downtown, Hollywood and Silicon Beach. Now turn your eyes toward the airport. El Segundo is changing so fast, the expression, “It’s not your father’s El Segundo” is inadequate. It’s not even your older brother’s. Please join us on location there for a special event Dec. 11 to see why. Herewith, a preview in three parts.

As broker Bob Healey showed us Thursday afternoon, peering out of his Toyota Land Cruiser outside his CBRE office, it’s now becoming another creative hub—and alternative to other west side areas for rapidly growing Millennial businesses that don’t want to pay such high rents. While it used to be known for Northrop and other jet-age companies, names bringing the buzz now are net-age companies like WPromote and Rocketfuel.

Oddly enough, the first benchmark of cool we see is technically in Manhattan Beach—right across Rosecrans from CB. It’s MBS, aka Manhattan Beach Studios. Big deal director James Cameron offices there. What aficionados are beginning to realize, though, is that it's on the El Segundo side of the road that tons of cutting-edge commercial development is underway.

Another big symbol: Here’s Metro Rail (and the Santa Fe Railroad) at the east end of the Rosecrans corridor, poised to connect the area via Blue and Green lines, and three separate stations, to LAX and Downtown.

Also in the Rosecrans Corridor: 3601 Aviation is literally being repositioned with a new address, 1888 Rosecrans. And being totally rehabbed. Continental Development is gutting it and spending millions on dramatic new features like floor-to-ceiling window systems. And reeling in major new tenants like True Religion jeans.

Across the street, Continental Park, at 86 acres and 3M SF of mid-rise like this, with low-rise behind it, has long been the mothership of commercial space in El Segundo, featuring lush foliage and extensive amenities, and commanding the highest rents. In the process, developer and philanthropist Richard Lundquist has become a key and beloved figure in the community.

A year ago, Richard sold off four buildings in the back to SSV Properties and Invesco, which are now busy converting the 540k SF into creative office.

The project is named Apollo for a street one of the buildings is on, which in turn was so named for the space program.

SSV’s David Jordon is transforming the look and feel of the properties—like 2150 Park Place, which is getting not just a new inside, but outside as well—reflecting the more informal setting now expected by the young work force.

Rocketfuel and Murad are moving in from around the corner at Continental Park, and JustFab women’s apparel recently announced it will follow suit for 115k SF in a 15-year lease.

Steven Ehrlich Architects are now about to work their magic on another of the buildings, 2175 Park Place, just like Shubin + Donaldson has also been doing in the area; tenants seem to be yearning for this stuff and able to pay. 

Not surprisingly many of the big brokerages themselves—not just CBRE, but JLL, Colliers and others—have set up in the neighborhood, attracted by Class-A buildings and offerings like Paul Martin’s (part of the same restaurant group as PF Chang’s and Flemings, also in the area). And perhaps also, at least in the case of CBRE’s Bob Healey, because he carries six surfboards around in his car. But the Rosecrans Corridor is just a taste of what’s happening. Coming up in our series on El Segundo: the “Superblock,” the Point, Elevon and Smoky Hollow. Like we said, the place is hopping. If you want to hop, too, join us Dec. 11.