Veteran developer Robert Maguire is teaming up with L.A. Live developer AEG to look into building what would be downtown L.A.’s first new office high-rise since the 1990s.

The proposal is still in the early stages, but Maguire said he envisions a 600,000-square-foot building on what is now a parking lot across the street from the L.A. Live entertainment complex and next to two proposed Marriott International Inc. hotels on Olympic Boulevard.

Maguire disclosed the plans at a Building Owners and Managers Association event this month. He said the idea is to attract tech, entertainment and creative firms, and eventually create a district for such businesses in the area. San Francisco’s Gensler, the nation’s largest architecture firm, has been hired to design it.

“The thing that was fascinating to me is the whole idea of creating an entertainment and media district with AEG,” Maguire told the group at the April 13 meeting at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel.

AEG spokesman Michael Roth confirmed that AEG and Maguire are involved in discussions regarding development of property AEG owns at 917 Olympic Blvd. between Francisco and Georgia streets, but declined to elaborate. Maguire did not return calls.

It’s not clear just how far along plans are for the project, but Maguire told the group he would like to build the tower by 2015. If successful, it would be the first high-rise office construction downtown since 1992, when R&T Development constructed a 25-story building at 801 S. Figueroa St. and Metropolitan Structures built the 52-story Two Cal Plaza at 350 S. Grand Ave.

At 600,000 square feet, the proposed building would be larger than R&T’s building but slightly smaller than Union Bank Plaza at 445 S. Figueroa.

Maguire did not say how many floors he envisions, but to get 600,000 square feet on a lot of that size would imply a building of at least 20 stories. Zoning restrictions cap the height of a building on that lot to 350 feet, which means a maximum of 30 stories or so. Creative office space generally has higher ceilings.

The news notably comes just weeks after Korean Air, citing downtown’s high vacancy rate, announced it would no longer build a 1.5 million-square-foot office tower as part of its $1 billion redevelopment of the Wilshire Grand Hotel. A healthy office market is generally considered to have a vacancy rate below 10 percent, while downtown’s was 17.2 percent in the first quarter, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. Korean Air’s new office space would have been competition for the Maguire-AEG project.


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