KBS Embarks on a $20 Million Repositioning Project for Union Bank Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles

July 11, 2019— KBS, one of the largest owners of commercial real estate, has announced the start of a $20 million renovation that will give Downtown Los Angeles’ iconic...
Union Bank Plaza DTLA
Union Bank Plaza DTLA

July 11, 2019— KBS, one of the largest owners of commercial real estate, has announced the start of a $20 million renovation that will give Downtown Los Angeles’ iconic Union Bank Plaza (UBP) multiple competitive community features including an entirely reimagined two-story retail level, high-level finishes in the property’s conference center, a spacious, modern outdoor seating area with fire pits, and a best-in-class lobby. Located at 445 S. Figueroa Street, UBP is a Class A office tower owned by KBS Real Estate Investment Trust II.

In addition to the building renovation, KBS has embarked on a progressive spec suite program, building out tenant suites without a committed tenant. These suites are extremely high-quality and designed with downtown’s live-work-play tenants in mind. Of the first eight suites currently under construction, two have been pre-leased.

An integral part of the DTLA skyline and one of the most prominent Class A high-rises, UBP will be one of the first buildings in the area to receive significant upgrades and an ambitious amenity package since the majority were built in the 1980’s. KBS is adding to the wealth of amenities already available such as a convenient parking garage with a 1.5/1,000 parking ratio, multiple elevators, security, bike storage, an electric car charging station and immediate access to the I-110 Freeway with the best ingress/egress in the Central Business District (CBD).

“Union Bank Plaza is the type of property that literally could not be built today. Covering a full city block, the property strategically connects the Bunker Hill business district with the burgeoning Figueroa Corridor. Offering easy access to both phenomenal entertainment and key transportation routes, UBP has the location and the energy that so many commercial tenants are looking for,” said Tim Helgeson, senior vice president for KBS and asset manager of the property. “We could not be more excited about the opportunity to add value in the area.”

The project’s vision was created with the help of HLW International’s Los Angeles studio and will seamlessly blend elements of today’s modern work environment with UBP’s classic and timeless design. This new environment will add modern outdoor elements to support the outstanding restaurant options available to those working in the building and the surrounding neighborhood.

“We are honored to be working alongside KBS to reposition this Bunker Hill icon and reestablish the property as a ‘Class A’ address,” says Mark Zwagerman, principal and managing director at HLW Los Angeles. “The innovative and progressive design strategies employed here seek to transform Union Bank Plaza, celebrate the history of the space, and enhance the tenant experience through a re-imagination of the amenities and extensive outdoor environments. We are thrilled to be involved in such a complete transformation.”

UBP is in one of DTLA prime locations and consists of a 701,888 square-foot office tower; a two-level retail center; a two-acre landscaped outdoor plaza; and a four-level parking structure in the core of DTLA’s CBD. According to the latest research from Cushman & Wakefield, the overall vacancy rate in the CBD has continued to decline in recent years, with vacancy rates for the fourth quarter of 2018 at the lowest they’ve been since 2011.

“There aren’t a lot of iconic buildings in Los Angeles with the amount of outdoor space and freeway accessibility that have the potential for this type of repositioning. As we continue our long-term commitment to the area, we are truly excited about embarking on an extraordinary renovation that speaks to the demands of today’s dynamic tenants who are looking for environmentally friendly, high-quality buildings with hotel like amenities,” said Rod Richerson, regional president, Western United States for KBS. “We’ve gained so much knowledge from many of the other transformational renovations that KBS has successfully completed across the country, including Portland, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and many more. We plan to incorporate the best practices and most innovative ideas into Union Bank Plaza’s repositioning.”

KBS has engaged Swinerton Builders to lead construction efforts. The first round of demolition work will begin in early July with a completion date in Q1 of 2020. Renderings, floor plans, virtual tours and more can be found on the building’s newly launched interactive site: http://www.ubpdtla.com/.

“KBS is creating an entirely new vibe at UBP,” said Justin Collins, executive director for Cushman & Wakefield and leasing agent for the building. “With a new garden retail setting, a park-like experience on the plaza level including a variety of seating areas surrounded by new landscaping, fire pits, an indoor/outdoor conference center and a stunning new lobby, UBP will be one of the most attractive and flexible work spaces in the Downtown LA marketplace.”

Brokerage professionals Justin Collins, Pete Collins, and Kelli Snyder from Cushman & Wakefield serve as exclusive office leasing agents for UBP.

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