Beverly Hills has lost another tenant to the city of L.A.’s three-year tax holiday.

HKS Architects Inc. relocated its local office to Westwood last week.

The Dallas firm signed a 10-year lease for 14,000 square feet on the 18th floor of the Oppenheimer Building, at 10880 Wilshire Blvd., with landlord Equity Office, an affiliate of New York’s Blackstone Group. Financial terms were not disclosed, but sources estimate the deal is valued at about $5.6 million.

The firm is moving from 9441 W. Olympic Blvd., where it occupied 22,000 square feet for the last decade.

Scott Hunter, principal at HKS, said that the reduction in square feet is a reflection of an improved interior design that eliminated perimeter offices to fit more people into one large open space. In fact, the new office in the 24-story glass high-rise will allow the firm to grow by an additional 15 employees to a total of 60 in the near future.

Hunter said the firm looked all over the county for a new office but settled on Westwood after finding the building and receiving the business tax holiday.

“It would have been a deal killer if we weren’t able to get that three-year tax holiday,” he said.

Beverly Hills, which charges a gross receipts tax, has struggled to compete with the L.A. tax relief, which gives a three-year break from gross receipts taxes to any firm moving into the city for the first time. Last year, Beverly Hills BMW and Beverly Hills Porsche both moved to Los Angeles, citing the tax holiday as a contributing factor.

The L.A. office of HKS’ design portfolio includes the W Hollywood Hotel & Residences, Montage Beverly Hills and Dodger Stadium renovations.

Justin Collins, vice president at Lincoln Property Co., represented HKS. Hunt Barnett, Peter Best, Karly Johnson and Beau Rawi at L.A. Realty Partners represented the landlord.

Beachside Blockbuster

In the largest apartment sale in Santa Monica since 2010, a 60-unit building only four blocks from the beach traded hands for $16.5 million last month.

New York real estate investment company M West Holdings LLC bought the property at 3111 Fourth St. last month from a local family trust, which has owned it since it was built in 1971.

It is M West’s 11th acquisition in Los Angeles in the 30 months it has been doing business here. Its strategy is to invest in multifamily properties, which the firm renovates, leases and manages long-term in New York and Southern California.


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