What used to be an aerospace haven has turned into an office powerhouse.

The sprawling, 420,000-square-foot West Hills Corporate Village was the largest office complex built in Los Angeles County last year.

Developed by Beverly Hills-based Regent Properties, the complex is 72 percent leased, having signed on such tenants as Boeing Corp. for 194,000 square feet, Software Dynamics for 32,500 square feet and Xerox Corp. for 17,400 square feet. Construction has also begun on a final, four-story building encompassing 135,000 square feet, which already is 100 percent leased to Sterling Software.

"It's a good example of job growth for the San Fernando Valley," said Stephen Reinstein, Regent's senior vice president of development. "We've added 1,400 high-paying jobs to the economy through this project."

Regent, which focuses on public-private partnerships, worked on the project with L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan's Business Team. Three of the buildings had been the corporate campus for Hughes Aircraft Co. since 1966, but when the aerospace industry fizzled in the early '90s, the company moved to Arizona.

In late 1995, Hughes sold the 86-acre site to the Valley Job Recovery Corp., a nonprofit organization formed to help L.A. rebound following the L.A. riots and the recession. The agency then sold the site to Coast Federal Bank, with the option to repurchase 30 acres. In 1996, the organization exercised its option and sold the property to a partnership between Regent and Shamrock Holdings.

The site required a head-to-toe overhaul, which included pulling the building skins off and gutting the structures down to their frames. The new exterior is made of heat-resistant glass, polished granite and Flexi-Rock, a polymer-modified stucco system.

In business since 1989, Regent also builds retail projects both in Southern California and Texas. Currently, the company is working to develop a 100,000-square-foot mixed-use retail and apartment site in Hollywood. In addition, Regent is in the process of getting entitlements from the city of Burbank to create Burbank Plaza, a 100,000-square-foot mixed-use facility.

"Every week we're receiving dozens of RFPs (request for proposals for municipal projects). There's a need out there to redevelop urban interiors and create a sense of community," Reinstein said.

Nola Sarkisian-Miller

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