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April 17, 2021
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DTLA’s Union Bank Plaza Nominated as a Historical Landmark by the Los Angeles Conservancy


Union Bank Plaza (UBP), a 701.9k sf, 40-story, office tower and retail plaza in Downtown Los Angeles, was recently designated the first skyscraper in Los Angeles to become a historical landmark nominated by the esteemed Los Angeles Conservancy. At the same time, the office tower, originally constructed in 1967, is undergoing a $20 mil renovation while preserving its historic charm. UBP is owned by KBS Real Estate Investment Trust II.

The building was collaboratively designed by New York-based architectural firm Harrison & Abramovitz and Los Angeles-based firm A.C. Martin & Associates in the Corporate International architectural style. The Modernist-style outdoor plaza was designed by famed landscape architect Garrett Eckbo, one of the pioneers of this type of landscape design.

In phase I, KBS completed a variety of interior and exterior renovations to the property high-level finishes in the building’s conference center; and a best-in-class lobby. In phase II, KBS will include an entirely reimagined two-story retail level and a spacious, modern outdoor seating area with fire pits which is scheduled to be completed in April 2021. The architecture, interior design and landscape design services for the property's repositioning were provided by HLW International LLP.

“UBP is a one-of-a-kind property that spans a full city block and exudes the charm and rich history of 1960s architecture, which makes it a true landmark for Downtown Los Angeles,” explains Tim Helgeson, senior vice president for KBS and asset manager for UBP. “As Los Angelenos begin thinking about returning to the office, UBP offers them a building of classic design with all the modern touches and amenities that today’s top tenants demand.”

As part of its renovations, KBS also implemented a progressive spec suite program at the property in which it built out tenant suites without a committed tenant. This program kicked off with eight suites totaling more than 21k sf, all of which were prelease prior to completion. The second phase is under way and includes 12 new spec suites totaling over 33k sf. We have also just completed the design of a full floor law firm layout spec suite and will be commencing construction on this 18.2k sf spec suite shortly. These suites are extremely high-quality and designed with downtown Los Angeles’ live-work-play tenants in mind, according to Helgeson. The new environment adds modern outdoor elements to support the outstanding restaurant options available to those working in the building and the surrounding neighborhood.

“The repositioning project provided the opportunity for Union Bank Plaza ‘to be seen in a new light’ while still maintaining the historic characteristics that make it so unique,” explains Giovanni (Gio) Cordoves, regional president, western region for KBS. “We made several upgrades to the property that are aligned with the needs of today’s tenants and completely preserved the historic original shell of the building as well as the outdoor plaza.”

Harnessing the distinguishing features of the modernist era from which Union Bank Plaza hails, HLW created a timeless design approach which takes cues from the classic beauty of the building's original design. This included refreshing the entry lobby's arrival experience and conferencing center with new interpretations of classic materials such as creamy Carrara marble, rich walnut wood and matte brass architectural accents. The resulting scheme establishes a contemporary sense of place in the building's history with a clean, detailed and honest aesthetic.

Swinerton Builders is leading the construction efforts at UBP. The tower is located at 445 S. Figueroa St, connecting the Bunker Hill business district with the burgeoning Figueroa Corridor and offering access to both phenomenal entertainment and key transportation routes. Justin Collins, Pete Collins, and Brittany Winn from Cushman & Wakefield serve as exclusive office leasing agents for UBP.

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