Celebrity gossip website TMZ.com may be relocating to Playa Vista from West Hollywood at the end of the year.

The company is close to signing a deal for about 40,000 square feet at 13031 W. Jefferson Blvd., the location of a former post office that was purchased last year by a partnership of Burbank’s Worthe Real Estate Group and San Francisco’s Shorenstein Properties LLC.

The terms of the deal are not known, but industry sources anticipate the monthly rate will be about $2.45 a square foot triple net, which is a little less than the average in nearby Marina Del Rey.

TMZ would move out of the offices it occupies at an office and retail complex at 8000 W. Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, where it has been for years.

The website, owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., and run by broadcaster and former lawyer Harvey Levin, has gained notoriety for its celebrity news coverage, including breaking the story about Michael Jackson’s death in 2009. It also produces an accompanying television show that airs on Fox.

It’s unclear why TMZ is looking at Playa Vista, but sources said the company scoped out new offices on the Miracle Mile and in West Los Angeles but wasn’t fond of the rates or space. The 380,000-square-foot Playa Vista building is being renovated into creative offices and should be ready by the end of the year.

Other creative companies have been moving to the up-and-coming lower Westside area as well. Nearby, the Ratkovich Co.’s Hercules Campus, the historic home of Hughes Aircraft Co., landed two tech tenants this month. YouTube LLC, the video-sharing site owned by Google Inc., signed a long-anticipated lease for about 40,000 square feet for a new division creating video content, and tech-focused marketing agency Earthbound Media Group took about 15,000 square and moved its headquarters from Orange County .

Cushman & Wakefield Inc. brokers Carl Muhlstein and Hayley English, who represent the landlord, could not comment on the deal.

Mass Departures

Financially struggling Santa Ana brokerage Grubb & Ellis Co. had been hemorrhaging brokers before it announced last week that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The filing disclosed that even prior to the pre-packaged bankruptcy, brokers that accounted for nearly 30 percent of its revenue had jumped ship. So what happens now that New York financial services firm BGC Partners Inc. has agreed to acquire nearly all of the company with intentions of merging it with its New York brokerage Newmark Knight Frank.

Larry Perkins, a senior managing director in the downtown L.A. office of restructuring and financial advisory firm Conway MacKenzie Inc., believes BGC is evaluating Grubb offices, brokers and deals, and will identify the personnel it wants to keep. For those that have stuck it out this long, he said, it makes sense to stay and see what happens.

“It’s an opportunity for Grubb to open a new chapter in their evolution with a strong partner on the other coast,” he said. “It seems like from the employee and broker standpoint, it’s a positive.”

Across the county, former Grubb brokers – sometimes whole teams – have already joined other brokerages. Those include former Grubb Executive Vice President Neil Resnick, who joined Canadian brokerage Avison Young Canada Inc. to head its first L.A. office. At least two other former Grubb brokers have joined Resnick.

Downtown Renewal

The L.A. office of Chicago law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP has renewed its downtown lease a few years early.

The outpost signed a five-year deal for nearly 102,000 square feet at 333 S. Hope St. starting in 2015. The financial terms with landlord Brookfield Office Properties Inc. were not disclosed, but industry sources peg the value at more than $20 million.

The firm moved into the space last year on a five-year lease and has been so pleased that it decided to renew early.

Kirkland has about 83 attorneys and 30 partners in its downtown office, whose focus includes antitrust, corporate law and intellectual property.

Kirkland was represented by Jerry Porter and Matthew Miller of CresaPartners LLC. Landlord was represented in-house by John Barganski.

Staff reporter Jacquelyn Ryan can be reached at jryan@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 228.

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