Grand Island, N.Y.-based architectural firm Cannon Design's merger with L.A.'s well-known Dworsky Associates has prompted a trio of real estate moves as the two companies join forces.

Dworsky Associates, which as CannonDworsky will now be part of Cannon Design's West Coast practice, will be settling into the first and second floors of 1901 Ave. of the Stars under a 10-year, four-month lease worth $7.3 million.

Dworsky Associates is vacating its Mid-Wilshire offices at 3530 Wilshire Blvd. and Cannon Design is moving out of the World Savings Building at 11601 Wilshire Blvd. in West Los Angeles.

Dworsky Associates has been based in Los Angeles for 47 years. Its recent projects include the Sinai Temple Akiba Academy Expansion and a 263,000-square-foot police facility in Glendale.

Greg Batiste of Westmac Commercial represented CannonDworsky along with Chris Holland of the same brokerage. Jeff Pion of CB Richard Ellis represented the owner of 1901 Ave. of the Stars, Divco West Group LLC.

CannonDworsky plans to spend more than $740,000 to redesign the space in line with Divco West's external renovations, Batiste said. The firm plans to open up the mezzanine level onto the ground-floor level, a design that will become part of the entranceway to the building.

Beverly Hills Investment

The half-empty Wilshire-LeDoux building in Beverly Hills is set for a $5 million renovation into creative office space.

The six-story, 42,500-square-foot building was only half leased when 8530 Wilshire LLC, a group of private investors, recently bought it from SC Development. The sale price was not disclosed.

The building is located at Wilshire Boulevard and LeDoux Road, one block west of the intersection of La Cienega and Wilshire boulevards.

The building has not been renovated or repositioned in years, but industry observers say the strong market conditions enabled SC Development to get out without getting hurt. SC Development has owned the building since the early 1980s.

The lack of substantial renovation over the years means the building is prime for repositioning, said Patrick Spillane of downtown L.A.-based Investment Development Services Inc., which is managing the project for the new owner.

Built in 1960, the building's mid-century look is expected to lure in entertainment tenants, Spillane said. The new owner plans to take advantage of the building's detailing and large spaces, and renovation plans call for opening up the high ceilings for creative office space and adding polished concrete floors where possible.

"You can get that sort of industrial look going," Spillane said.

Renovation work is already underway on the fourth floor, where producer Gale Anne Hurd's Valhalla Motion Pictures will occupy 6,000 square feet of creative office space starting in November. Industry sources estimate that the monthly lease rate is in the high $2-per-square-foot range.

The design work will be led by architectural firm Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum Inc. of Santa Monica.

Investment Development Services is marketing the building with CB Richard Ellis.

Pricey Downtown Condos

Ground is set to break Sept. 11 on the Toy Warehouse lofts at East Third Street and Santa Fe Avenue in downtown L.A., next door to the new home of the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

The project represents the first for-sale artist loft condominiums ever built in downtown, according to Decoma Structural Industries LLC, lead developer on the project for Toy Warehouse Lofts Realty Investors LLC, a partnership of individual investors and Canon Capital Advisors LLC.

The development will put 20 condos on the market, with asking prices of just over $200,000 for 1,200 square feet, and up to $490,000 for a 2,800-square-foot loft.

Reservations have been available for two weeks, and buyers are lined up for more than half of the units, according to Decoma partner Marinel Robinson.

"We've already received 12 reservations on 20 units," Robinson said. "So I guess there's demand."

The 80,000-square-foot, three-story building includes a basement that will be converted into a parking lot. The project will feature 20 condominiums on two floors, with retail space on the first floor facing SCI-ARC.

The existing Toy Warehouse sign will remain on the building, which was built in 1907 and has stood vacant in recent years. Robinson figures the brick walls and exposed-wood beams will prove attractive to buyers in today's market.

Development and construction firm Decoma, known for its role in building the Inner-City Arts facility in downtown L.A. at Kohler and East Eighth streets, has been developing artist loft rental units for 15 years, Robinson said. The move to build for-sale condos was prompted by demand from the existing downtown artist community, so the lofts are attracting a different crowd than many of the other new downtown housing projects.

Almost, that is; Robinson said at least one buyer is an attorney based in the Bay Area who wants to attend L.A. Lakers games at Staples Center when he's in town.

Downtown Digs for Full Moon

Put-off by expensive Westside creative-space rents but needing to expand, Full Moon Interactive has opted to sublease conventional downtown office space. It is moving out of its 5,000 square feet of creative office space in Hollywood and into a 30,000-square-foot space at 911 Wilshire Blvd., near Figueroa Street. Full Moon plans, builds and markets Internet businesses for Fortune 500 companies.

The $4.1 million sublease from engineering firm Dames & Moore Inc. will last 91 months, said Ryan Schnell of Colliers Seeley, who represented Full Moon in the deal. The rate works out to $1.55 a square foot, per month. The relatively high vacancy rates in downtown should save Full Moon more than a few pennies.

"The rate was extremely reasonable," Schnell said.

Staff reporter Milo Peinemann

can be reached at mpeinemann@labusinessjournal.com.

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