I was extremely disappointed by your recent description of Westwood Village one of the region's emerging retail success stories ("Stores Retreat From Troubled Westwood" June 10).
In just five years, the retail vacancy rate in Westwood Village has been cut by more than half. More than 100 stores have opened for business in the past year, and those retailers are expected to generate more than $125 million in new retail sales in 2002.
Westwood Village caters to a wide spectrum of customers, from office workers in the day to residents at night. Since acquiring property in Westwood three years ago, Madison Marquette has striven to improve its retail mix a vision we have begun to realize in the last year.
Madison Marquette Retail Services Inc.
Rand Numbers Questioned
The June 17 real estate column item on the cost of Rand's new Santa Monica headquarters leaves the inaccurate impression that Rand is spending more than necessary on the project. In fact, we worked with real estate and construction consultants to carefully research available office space in the Los Angeles area and held discussions with several owners of existing office buildings about purchasing them.
We found no other property could provide us with significantly lower priced office space and meet the special security, computing, telecommunication and other requirements for a world-class research facility. We concluded that the most prudent course was to construct our own building on property we already own in Santa Monica.
The cost of office space in the column, estimated by a single person uninformed about our property needs, was unrealistically low for the construction or leasing of space that could attract, support and retain the specialized employees who conduct Rand's research activities.
Based on my experience, the number $200 per square foot cost for a "headquarters" facility like that of Rand Corp. is inadequate and perhaps misleading to your readers. It would cost in excess of $270 per square foot, including tenant improvements, parking and sitework. You also need to add the costs of the conditions imposed by Santa Monica (e.g., green building requirements, public access around the building, childcare) and any special requirements for security or technology a company like Rand is likely to have. While not involved in the project, I also know this facility needs to support several hundred feet of a decades-old, very large storm drainage line.
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