The Red building finally has a tenant. Four in fact.
Whalerock Industries, a media and technology company based in Santa Monica, will move its 200 employees to the Pacific Design Center building by the end of the year according to the Los Angeles Times. Whalerock is a media and technology company whose best-known product is Moviefone, the consumer movie database.
Also moving into the 400,000-square-foot building are AllSaints, a men’s and women’s clothing retailer, which is leaving New York City; Criteria Corp., an employment testing service, and Gaumont International Television, an independent TV studio. Altogether they will occupy 65,000 square feet.
The Red building is part of the three-building PDC complex bounded by Melrose Avenue on the south and San Vicente Boulevard on the west. Designed by noted architect Cesar Pelli, construction began in 2007 and was completed in 2013. Since then it has been empty except for a West Coast office for Cohen Brothers Realty, which owns the PDC. Cohen told the Times that he is in negotiation with other tenants who might occupy 90,000 more square feet.
The zoning and approval process for Red began in 1998 when Cohen purchased the Pacific Design Center from Catellus Development Corporation. But it wasn’t until 2004, when the nearby Green building was fully occupied, that work on Red really got into gear. The design was revealed to the press in 2006 with a $100 million price tag.
It turned out that a 2010 opening was an overly ambitious goal. As Gustave Heully reported in WEHOville, there were excavation issues. During the first years of construction, heavy rains inundated the site, which already had a high water table, causing the foundation to often fill with water.
But water wasn’t the only underground problem. The builders expected to find two uncharted oil wells, but two became three, three became five, and five became seven wells. Each required removal and decontamination of the soils surrounding them, a lengthy and expensive process.
These delays not only set the project back two years and counting, but ballooned the cost of the Red building up to $165 million. That’s the same price Cohen is said to have paid for both the Blue and Green buildings in 1998.
The Red building will add 400,000 square feet of office space to the PDC, but filling that space could prove difficult. The LA Business Journal has reported that Cohen has had trouble leasing the space because of his high asking price, which is at the top end of the Los Angeles market, and his desire for only the most exclusive and long-term tenants.