Grubb & Ellis Co. is beefing up its property management operations in the West, including Los Angeles.

The company in years past essentially limited its management activities to the East, while focusing on the brokerage side of the business out West. As recently as six months ago, G & E; didn't have a single property under management in L.A.

But Grubb & Ellis Management Services Inc. broke into the management side here last December when it was chosen to manage the 300,000-square-foot Figueroa Courtyard office complex in downtown L.A., said Jim Rosten, president of G & E;'s Western region.

Since then, the company has increased its L.A.-area property management portfolio to 8 million square feet. Elsewhere in the West, G & E; has built its management portfolio from 4.5 million square feet six months ago to 7 million square feet today.

G & E;'s total management portfolio for the Western region which extends from Portland to San Francisco, Sacramento, Southern California, Denver and Tucson contains 15 million square feet, encompassing office, retail and industrial space.

The increase has come about partly through G & E;'s acquisitions of Crane Realty & Management Co. and LaCagnina & Associates, referrals from the sales and leasing departments, and as a result of new hires, Rosten said.

He anticipates G & E;'s Western regional portfolio will contain close to 25 million square feet by the end of the year. Still, he added, "We're not in a race to be the biggest on the block."

Tooley & Co. still holds that distinction in L.A. County, where it has more than 15 million square feet under management.

More on Fig Courtyard

Figueroa Courtyard, the only campus-style office complex downtown, is being given "a whole different look," said Ross A. Crowe, vice president and director of operations for the L.A. region of Grubb & Ellis.

Carter, Romaneck Landscape Architects has created new landscaping plans for both the auto and pedestrian entrances to the complex. A main pedestrian plaza accessed off Figueroa has been designed to lead into the five low-rise office buildings, which vary in height from two to five stories. There will be garden pathways, exterior seating, rock gardens and fountains, and more trees will be added.

"It's considerably more up to date," Crowe said of the design. "It needed to be livened up and cleaned up."

The 270,000-square-foot office campus at the corner of Figueroa and Third streets was originally constructed in the 1970s. Crowe said the project is being marketed to high-tech, telecom and entertainment tenants. While it is now half empty, he expects occupancy will soon increase to 75 percent or more.

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