After many years in the Miracle Mile, the L.A. office of the Securities and Exchange Commission is moving downtown.

The U.S. General Services Administration, which handles real estate matters for federal agencies, confirmed that the SEC has signed a lease for almost 58,000 square feet on the 9th through 11th floors of the Citigroup Center at 444 S. Flower St. The SEC will move from 5670 Wilshire Blvd., where its lease for about 50,000-square-feet on three-and-a-half floors is set to expire in March. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Joseph Tupy, general property manager for the Citigroup Center, said the SEC signed a long-term lease.

Traci Madison, a spokeswoman for the GSA, said the SEC decided to move downtown based on an executive order that requires federal offices to first consider space in central business districts.

“After checking the availability of federal space, GSA pursued a full and open competition lease action,” she said. “The award was based on the lowest price or technically acceptable offer.”

Tupy said the SEC would benefit from the larger space spread over fewer levels.

The building’s sustainability merits, on-site fitness center and proximity to public transportation also likely attracted the federal tenant.

Andrew McDonald, senior director at the Culver City office of Cushman & Wakefield of California Inc., represents 5670 Wilshire Blvd. in its leasing activity. He said the loss of a major tenant won’t hurt much – particularly because he’s already started marketing the space.

“Luckily, there’s significant tenant demand in Miracle Mile, especially for that building,” he said.

Sunny Sale

Citrus supplier Sunkist Growers Inc. thinks the grass is greener – or perhaps the sun brighter – in another valley.

The oldest operating citrus cooperative in the United States, which for 42 years was headquartered on Riverside Drive in Sherman Oaks, will move to Santa Clarita next year.

Sunkist last month purchased a 96,000-square-foot office building at 27770 N. Entertainment Drive from Miami Beach developer LNR Property Corp. for an undisclosed price in an off-market deal. The property, just off the 5 Freeway and Magic Mountain Parkway, was 48 percent leased to health care software company PDC Healthcare at the time of the sale.

Joan Wickham, a spokeswoman for Sunkist, said the vacant space in the building – about 52,000 square feet – will serve as a new headquarters for the 120-year-old cooperative and its sister organization, Fruit Growers Supply Co.

“The building is nearer to Sunkist’s multiple growing areas and will allow the company to keep its current employee group intact,” she said in a statement.

The four-story class A office property, built in 2009, was the first of what LNR Property planned to be a twin-office development. It has not broken ground on the second 96,000-square-foot building.

Jim Brown, manager of business attraction for the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., said his office first contacted Sunkist to woo them to the area about three years ago.

Sunkist finally began considering options in Santa Clarita shortly before it sold its Sherman Oaks headquarters at 14130 Riverside Drive to Sherman Oaks real estate investment firm IMT Capital in March.

John Sabourin of CBRE Group Inc. represented Sunkist in both transactions.

Social Expansion

Online couponing company LivingSocial may be shrinking elsewhere, but in Los Angeles, it’s expanding.

Despite closing its New York and Seattle offices earlier this summer, the Washington, D.C., company last week signed a lease for 20,000 square feet at the Pacific Center in Torrance.

That’s more space than the company occupied in Santa Monica, where it had offices in the Clock Tower building.

The Torrance office, a class A office building at 21250 Hawthorne Blvd., was purchased by Bixby Land Co. of Irvine last summer for $52 million. The real estate company put $6 million into interior and exterior renovations.

Aaron Hill, vice president at Bixby, said the daily deals company was eager to move in. The office will be home to LivingSocial’s Western region sales team.

Staff reporter Bethany Firnhaber can be reached at bfirnhaber@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 235.

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