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Modernizing Your Aging Building Doesn’t Have to Be a Time and Money Sink


With investors flooding billions into Los Angeles real estate, the City of Angels is seeing a wave of developments popping up all across the skyline, but many of the city’s historic buildings are in need of a touch-up. And while big LA names like Wayne Ratkovich are making it their life’s work to bring these buildings back to their former glory, not everyone has the time or the capital for total overhauls. But, as Campbell Window Film founder Brad Campbell points out, these owners can still bring their offices up to modern standards of aesthetics and performance by working over the building’s existing materials with window films and other improvements.

Brad tells Bisnow there are numerous advantages to taking less invasive methods to updating your properties. Not only can it save you money—reducing your operations expenses and increasing your NOI—but it can also make your building more attractive and energy efficient. By installing an exterior film on dated glass, for example, a building can not only look modern and attractive to prospective tenants, but also bring the windows up to Title 24 standards, make your HVAC units more effective, and even make the ground floor windows safer and less likely to shatter in a break-in attempt.  And, since these changes are noninvasive, any changes made to the buildings’ interior or exterior structure can be made overnight or without disturbing your building’s tenants.


“People can completely remodel an elevator car and spend $40k to $50k per car,” Brad says “or we can come in overnight for only a few thousand dollars. And since it’s over the existing materials, there’s no mess, no dust, no landfill, none of that.”

Furthermore, Brad says the noninvasive modernization process has no limit on what you can change: “It’s not just window films. It’s wood surfaces, metal surfaces, all sorts of different kinds of surfaces can be changed and modified. With over 1,400 types of architectural finishes to choose from, a person could change the whole building inside and out, from mullions and spandrel to elevators and lobbies.”


Brad’s company has hopped on the building modernization wagon hard, starting their own building modernization initiative. In Ontario, CA, for example, Brad and his company were asked to find a way to upscale a major building that found it was paying out the nose for its energy bills because its HVAC system wasn’t adequate to cool the building with all of the convective heat coming off the glass. After testing several films with Campbell, the client decided on a silver premium exterior film that not only looked much better than the dated Greylite 14 glass, but could also reject up to 81% of solar energy. The HVAC system was finally able to cool the building properly with the film installed, and the owner is able to save $24k annually in energy bills, making the ROI in six years. But the true success, Brad says, was with how happy the tenants were with the simple change.

Brad says there’s a “huge demand” for these noninvasive, cost-effective modernization techniques (“We’re finding we’re doing this more and more,” he says) and, due to available rebates, SoCal, LA and OC have become the prime markets for the modernization movement.

To learn more about Brad and our Bisnow partner, Campbell Window Film, click here.