Face lift for the Prom­e­nade

New own­ers plan more food and en­ter­tain­ment at Westch­ester mall.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BRIEFING - By Roger Vin­cent roger.vin­cent@latimes.com Twit­ter: @rogervin­cent

The Prom­e­nade at Howard Hughes Cen­ter, a prom­i­nent but dated mall next to the 405 Free­way in Westch­ester, has been sold to Los An­ge­les in­vestors who plan to give it a $30-mil­lion face lift.

Lau­rus Corp., a real es­tate de­vel­op­ment firm that ac­quires and im­proves com­mer­cial prop­er­ties, said it plans a greater em­pha­sis on food and en­ter­tain­ment along with a more pedes­trian-friendly lay­out. The mall, com­pleted in 2001, was de­signed to serve cus­tomers ar­riv­ing by car, but thou­sands of peo­ple have re- cently moved to the area and could visit on foot, the new own­ers said.

Howard Hughes Cen­ter, the neigh­bor­hood where the mall is lo­cated, has a col­lec­tion of high-rise of­fice build­ings and a grow­ing num­ber of apart­ments. Soon it will have a to­tal of 1.3 mil­lion square feet of of­fice space and 3,200 apart­ments, said Jean Paul Szita, pres­i­dent of Lau­rus Corp.

The mall is also close to Playa Vista, an of­fice, residential and re­tail de­vel­op­ment be­ing built on land that once was home to the avi­a­tion em­pire of busi­ness mogul Howard Hughes.

The in­vest­ment was spurred in part by “the pur­chas­ing power of the res­i­dents and em­ploy­ees who live and work in such close prox­im­ity,” Szita said.

Lau­rus Corp. bought the mall from Passco Cos. last week. Terms of the sale were not dis­closed, but real es­tate data provider CoStar Group Inc. val­ued it at about $100 mil­lion.

The mall’s new de­sign, by Los An­ge­les ar­chi­tect the Jerde Part­ner­ship Inc., calls for more in­door-out­door uses such as court­yards with land­scap­ing. The in­stal­la­tion of south-fac­ing es­ca­la­tors and a new pedes­trian cross­ing on Cen­ter Drive aims to make the mall easy to ac­cess by pedes­tri­ans.

The court­yard ad­ja­cent to the Cine­mark theater com­plex will be­come the cen­ter of the mall, with a new out­door screen­ing area and fire pit, as well as new restau­rants, an out­door din­ing area and ca­sual lounge space. The team will also up­date the Art Deco fa­cades to re­flect a more mod­ern aes­thetic.

The Playa Vista area is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a growth boom. In re­cent years many tech­nol­ogy and media firms that found them­selves priced out of Santa Mon­ica and other West­side of­fice mar­kets have grav­i­tated to new and ren­o­vated build­ings in Playa Vista.

In­ter­net ti­tan Google Inc. last year bought nearly 12 acres at Playa Vista that is zoned for new of­fices or stu­dios. Google is also ex­pected to lease the mas­sive 1943 hangar where avi­a­tor Hughes built his “Spruce Goose” air­plane. Ya­hoo Inc., another huge In­ter­net com­pany, said in Jan­uary that it will move re­gional oper­a­tions from Santa Mon­ica to Playa Vista.

Land­lord Lau­rus Corp. has more than $1 bil­lion in as­sets un­der man­age­ment and is af­fil­i­ated with real es­tate pri­vate eq­uity firm Ethika In­vest­ments.

L au­rus Corp.

AN ARTIST’S

ren­der­ing of how the Prom­e­nade at Howard Hughes Cen­ter will look af­ter its makeover.

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