University of California set to purchase former Westside Pavilion

The University of California appears set to buy the former Westside Pavilion, which was once one of Los Angeles’ most popular shopping centers but was later converted into office space to rent to companies like Google, according to state records and two real estate sources. with knowledge of the agreement.

One of the sources, who was not authorized to speak about the project, said the deal had been finalized.

The 584,000-square-foot office complex, renamed One Westside, is located on prime real estate in the heart of the Westside, about two miles from the UCLA campus. Officials have been looking for ways to expand the school’s capacity.

The University of California is seeking to acquire and improve three adjoining commercial properties along Pico Boulevard that make up the former shopping center, an environmental notice released by the state shows. The efforts were first reported this week by commercial real estate news site Urbanize LA.

UCLA spokeswoman Mary Osako declined to confirm or deny reports of what she called a “rumor” about the possible transaction.

A purchase would mark the third major acquisition for the Los Angeles public university system in less than two years.

UCLA is the most-applied university in the country, but its Westwood campus is among the smallest of UC’s nine college campuses, leaving it limited room to grow.

Looking to expand its presence, UCLA announced this summer that it acquired the Art Deco-style Trust Building in downtown Los Angeles and renamed it UCLA Downtown. Just nine months earlier, UCLA spent $80 million to buy two other major properties owned by Marymount California University, a small Catholic university that closed last year. The purchase included Marymount’s 24.5-acre campus in Rancho Palos Verdes and a 11 acre residential site in nearby San Pedro.

Designed by noted 20th century shopping center architect Jon Jerde, the Westside Pavilion was both acclaimed and reviled by locals who saw it as a way to market their community when it opened in the 1980s. The three-story shopping center It was full of buyers. But decades later, the rise of e-commerce and changes in consumer tastes helped spark a slow death that was affecting brightly lit indoor shopping malls across the country.

Los Angeles-based office and studio owner Hudson Pacific Properties acquired control of most of Westside Pavilion in 2018 and announced it would convert the sprawling three-story shopping center into offices.

At the time, experts and elected officials touted the rebirth of the Westside Pavilion as office space as an example of West Los Angeles’ growing appeal to technology and media companies.

Google signed a 14-year lease in 2019 and had plans to build a massive campus there. Then COVID arrived. Those ambitions never came to fruition amid a slump in the office market and, more recently, a general pullback by technology companies in the face of real estate expansions and rising interest rates.

Earlier this year, Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, announced it would cut 12,000 jobs, or 6% of its workforce, amid “a different economic reality.”

In the environmental document, the university system did not say what it wants to do with the property, but says it will not make a decision until state regulation is met and a general site development plan has been approved.

At the time UCLA purchased the iconic downtown property, Chancellor Gene Block said he would offer extension classes there, but that he also had not “excluded” the potential for undergraduate and graduate classes.

Staff writer Teresa Watanabe contributed to this report.

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