Real Estate Symposium Full Version

Real Estate Symposium Full Version


[ Music ]>>Ramin Maysami:
Morning everyone. My name is Ramin Maysami,
and I have the pleasure of being the Dean of
College of Business and Economics right
here at Cal State LA. Welcome to our home. First thing that I do here
is I’m going to introduce to you one of the
reasons for me being here, and that’s our President. And I say a little bit
more about that one than this gives me my
five minutes to talk. Let me say a little bit about
our President, Dr. Covino. He became the President of Cal
State LA in September 2013. And since then, he has
emphasized the importance of a curriculum that prepares
students to transform the future and improve the quality of
life in Los Angeles and beyond. He has cultivated new
alliances and partnerships. They are all work towards
and reaching opportunities for students and
for our community. President Covino leads
the university during a unprecedented era of
change and national acclaim. He always says it’s
never enough to say this, or it’s never too many
instances to say this, Cal State LA is number
one in upward mobility, as you heard in the video. This was by an independent study
by New York Times, and again, we were ranked as number one
school in upward mobility, bringing people from
the bottom third to the top third
of economic ladder. Through the Mind Matters
initiative, President Covino and First Lady Debbie Covino,
great lady, enjoyable to talk to by the way, they are
aiding student success by providing resources for
physical and mental wellbeing. President Covino joined Cal
State LA following a four-year term as Provost and
Vice-President for Academic Affairs
at Fresno State. He holds a PhD in English and has published important
scholarship on the power and uses of persuasion
and imagination. He’s also a nationally
celebrated proponent of civil learning
and a recipient of the American Association of
State Colleges and Universities. On a personal note,
I enjoy listening to President Covino talking because he makes important
stuff very approachable. He just makes things
very easy to listen to. So as I approach any of you, and
I’m going to ask you to partner with Cal State LA
College of Business, I’m going to use the Covino way. So, it’s a pleasure to work
with Dr. Covino, and I ask him to please come on stage. [ Applause ]>>William A. Covino: So I get
a commission for the Covino way if it’s successful, right. Good morning. Welcome to Cal State LA. It’s a beautiful day. It’s beautiful to
have you all here. I hope you enjoyed the video. That’s just a glimpse
of the great things that we’re doing here
at the university. And we do think that
it’s the perfect place to have this important
conversation about the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles
and its future. Because Cal State LA
is transformational. It transforms lives. It transforms communities
as you’ve heard, and you’ll hear now
for the third time. Cal State LA at the conclusion
of a 15-year study by some of the most prominent
socio-economists in the country which involved 30
million students and 2,000 universities tracking
their progress over time and the progress of their
students into the workforce, concluded that if you
look at who’s taking folks in the bottom 20%, about a
third of our students come from the bottom 20%
socio-economically. If you look at who’s taking
folks from the bottom 20% and graduating them into
positions that put them in the top 20%, Cal State LA
is number one in the country. There’s no university
in the country that has a higher proportion of
students who make that ascent up the ladder of success. So we’re very excited
about that, and that really makes
this kind of gathering, which is about the
transformation of the region that we affect, even
more appropriate I think. We play an important life
and role in the city of LA. Our graduates are as that
recognition might attest are transforming the economy. They’re developing the future. Two years ago, we opened Cal
State LA downtown at Eighth and Grant to push
out the mission of providing high-quality
instruction and opportunity right in the
heart of the downtown area. So, we provide opportunities for
downtown residents and others to pursue undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees,
certificate programs. It’s really a wonderful
enterprise, and it’s packed right. It’s packed. So we’re feeling the
squeeze of the demand for Cal State LA downtown. And we’re going to have to
continue to respond to that. Our Civic University Program
is a joint program with myself and Mayor Garcetti
working together to identify aspiring
leaders throughout LA County, throughout the 88 cities of LA
County and invite them to learn about what it takes to
negotiate city government. What it takes to make
one’s voice heard. How we can make effective
presentations on important issues and
create change together. The Civic University Program
has been a great program for us. The mayor and I just
gave out certificates to the latest class
two weeks ago, and we find that a great way
of connecting with the folks who are really setting
their sights high and looking toward
a better day ahead. We contribute, our students
contribute thousands of hours in the city and the region because our general
education program requires it. We have a general ed program that has a substantial
requirement in civic and service learning. And what that means in
practical terms is about 6,000 of our students every year
are out in Los Angeles City and County making a difference,
working in nonprofits and in other industries
and connecting that with their majors and
their academic careers. So, it’s an exciting
enterprise for them and one that helps the develop
great futures and give back so that they leave here with the
ethic that we try to inculcate, which is emblazoned in
the term engagement, service and the public good. Engagement, service
and the public good. Those are the three elements that we want our students
leaving Cal State LA ready to thrust upon the
world, I guess. So we’re proud of the city
that we live and work in. We are proud of our students
and our faculty and staff for the kind of transformational
energy that they’re providing. And we’re especially proud
of our alumni, especially one of our most distinguished
alumni, John Gerro, whose contributions to the city and the university are
making this event possible and really touching many,
many lives through the way that this event and
events like it resonate. So I think you’re going
to have a great day. I think you will, you
will be stimulated, and you will be engaged,
and you will be informed. And you will leave here today
with an even bigger network of associates and
ideas that you can use as you move the future forward. Thank you very much for
being at Cal State LA. Come back any time. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Ramin C. Maysami:
Thank you, President. So, when I first, let me start by saying a little
bit about myself. My name, as I said,
Ramin Maysami. I have been here
since August of 2017. So right now, I’m
the newest dean, but the university is hiring
other deans in other colleges, so soon I will be
one of the veterans with about a year under my belt. When I came for an
interview, of course I talked to many other individuals,
including the President. And once I spoke with him,
and he gave me his vision and he asked me what my
vision for the college will be and how we’re going
to approach it, I knew this was the place to be. This was the right
place to be for me. And I’m very glad to be here. Students come first
at Cal State LA. So, as they asked me what is
your reason for the College of Business, we have
many initiatives. All of them directly
or indirectly are going to enrich the lives
of our students. And given that we provide
a professional education, we want them to be successful
in the job market, placement and success in their careers. So, College of Business is
one of the 6% of the American and international business
schools in the world that is accredited by
AACSB International. Saying it differently, only 6% of worldwide universities are
accredited by this organization. And we are one of them. So that places a lot of
emphasis for us on curriculum, on faculty qualification,
on research, on scholarship, on assessing our
learning outcomes. So we really have topnotch
education for our students. What we are going to
augment that with, and that’s where we need the
help from all of our alumni and all of our business partners and [inaudible] business
partners, is to give them the skills to
use that knowledge for success. Real estate, for example, you
know, life in Los Angeles seems to revolve around traffic
and real estate prices. So, being a new person,
I have to pay a lot of attention to those. So, it’s great to have our
students learn about real estate in general, and perhaps
we can follow this up with further research,
further studies of the real estate market,
getting our students, getting our faculty involved. So this is an important
event, and it works very well with our vision for instilling
the skills for success added to the knowledge for
success to our students. So, I’m not going
to say much more. We get to talk a little
bit individually, I hope, and I tell you a little bit
more about myself one-to-one. And I will ask every one of
you, and I have asked many of you already in the
few minutes that we talk, come and partner with us. Partnership takes many
forms, and all forms of it are very valuable to us. Our students will benefit
from learning what it is to be out there working. And we are going to benefit from
your suggestions on the type of education that we need to
provide that is market-related, market-relevant and
create reason for success for our students. Before I introduce our
benefactor here, John, Mr. Gerro, I’d like to thank the
speakers, our alumni, faculty and staff and other friends
who are here to support us. As the president said,
come back anytime. Come and visit the
College of Business. We give you a tour. We tell you more about
what we are doing there and what we want
to be doing there. I’d like to, Denise
gave me very good notes. There is only on
error, and the error is that she’s not listed
here on the name of people that I need to thank. So Denise and the
team from the college that helped put this event
together, and I know, unless if I see you I’m
going to miss somebody. Denise is right here. Wave please. [ Applause ] Miss Erin Doolittle is there. She’s the Director
of our Communication. I saw Nikita, Nikita
walking around there. She’s back there. I saw Brenda who recruits
for our graduate programs. If you don’t have
a master’s degree, we have an excellent
one right here for you. And we, next time we’re going
to bring financial aid here too. So, did I miss anybody. Oh Arsuno [phonetic] Pablo
and Laura that are serving as part-time photographers also. Okay. [ Inaudible ] And all the other students that
are here, members of the FMA, finance students are here. So, thank you all
for being here. Most importantly, thank you to
our speakers for taking the time to be here and on a Saturday. As you saw, there is
a lot going on campus. So this is a very lively campus. This is, something is
always is happening. Okay. So, now I’m going to
talk about Mr., okay, John, there’s some music playing
before I introduce you. Okay, I am proud to say
Mr. John Gerro was one of the first people that
I can call friend here. I didn’t know anybody
when I came here. Pretty much, Denise was it. And she introduced me
to a lot of people. And John was one of the
first people that I met. And again, he has a way of making you comfortable
just from day one. He started talking to
me as if, you know, we had known each other for several months,
for several years. So I appreciate that. So my first friend in Los
Angeles is John Gerro. He’s an attorney
specializing exclusively in real property law. He has been a licensed real
estate broker for 44 years. That sounds unbelievable,
but it’s true. He received his JD,
juris doctor, from Southwestern Law School and
earned his bachelor of science from the best that could be,
Cal State, LA, right here. And guess in what? In finance and real
estate from the College of Business and Economics. So, he did not go
wrong anywhere there. His practice emphasizes
litigation, development, financing, acquisition, lease
negotiation, title issue, broker and escrow
representation, trials, arbitration and structure
and real estate transactions for industrial, commercial
and residential projects. He has been an arbitrator,
mediator and expert witness
in many cases. Mr. Gerro has been past
president or chairperson of several professional and educational organizations
including the Association of Real Estate Attorneys,
Southwestern University, [Inaudible] Society,
Burbank Chamber of Commerce, Development Committee, the
Burbank Bar Association and Los Angeles County Bar
Real Property Finance Section. John is an active member of Providence Saint
Joseph Foundation and Real Estate Committee. He has served on the
Board of Trustees of Southwestern University
and is involved with numerous charitable
and philanthropic boards. He has written numerous
articles and legal and real estate journals,
including Los Angeles Lawyer and the State Board Journal,
the Real Property News. He has been on numerous panels
on real estate seminars. He is married to Marsh, a
pediatric medical doctor and has two sons in real estate
and law, Michael and George, and both of them are here
or were supposed to be here. Right? Okay. So, you know, things happen
in lives of busy people. Well, I already said this, but
I guess Denise who sent me some of this information
thinks the same way. He is a personable and friendly
person, and again, I repeat, I’m proud to say he was one of
my, he was my first friend here, and I appreciate him helping us
putting this symposium together. This is the second one, and I would like to invite
John to the stage please. [ Applause ]>>John Gerro, Esq.: Very nice. Dr. Maysami, that
was very nice of you. Thank you. I appreciate that wonderful
thing, and also, Dr. Covino, President Covino, for being
here and saying a few words to the university and
the members and so forth. I want to thank all
of the speakers, of course, and so forth. And just a few words about
what prompted me to do this. I wanted, obviously, to pick a
topic for Cal State LA School of Business and Economics that
made sense and was something that could be of interest
to a lot of people. When you look at the map
of downtown Los Angeles, there’s a million
dots on this map here. Every one is very important. Projects, developments,
entitlements and so forth. Just totally intriguing. We’re in a dynamic expansion
of our city at this time from many years of being fallow. And I thought this would
be an appropriate topic. Last year we called it
the changing skyline of downtown Los Angeles. And this year, just as a
sequel, the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles, so
many things are happening, and so many people are here
that have so much knowledge. And I’m so proud to
say that the speakers that we have here today are
a dynamic panel of movers and shakers of what you see
in the civics area today who spend an enormous
amount of time and create such valuable products and
services to the community. It’s just incredible. And they emulate other
groups and other people who are also involved
in such activities. I want to dedicate this
program to my brother who recently passed away
last year of cancer. He is and was a graduate of the
School of Business and Finance when we were here in the
late 60s he graduated. And basically, he was
involved in banking, real estate brokerage,
appraisal and so forth. And a great product from
the University of the School of Business here as well. So I dedicate the
program to him. The downtown area has been in such metamorphosis,
change of magnitude. Some of the major projects
that caught my attention over the years, and a few of
them are like the metropolis which consists of four towers,
a Greenland USA project, now sponsoring the Hotel
Indigo as 1300 condos, retails, 65,000 square feet, a cost
of over $770 million circa which is Jamison
Services project. Again, a residential tower. Oceanwide Plaza which is
nearing completion on Figueroa and Eleventh, consisting
of three towers who will have a moving
ribbon around the project that will be something
like Times Square. It will host Park Hyatt,
which is 183 rooms, 540 condominium projects and
180,000 retail square footage. The Olympia Figen [phonetic]
Olympic is another project, primarily residential. The Wilshire Grand Center which
Mr. Martin will be speaking and addressing his project. Seventy-three stories, the
tallest building in the West. A project of Hanjin
International and AC Martin. Hosting the Intercontinental
Hotel, 880 rooms and 110 suites. It has a sky lobby,
which I’ve been up to. It’s a beautiful area of the
building at the top if you want to go up there and have drinks
and enjoy the city view, 350,000 square feet of
office space, 45,000 retail. Over a 1.1 billion in cost. We have the 1020 project,
Hazens’ project on South Fig, that’s hosting the W Hotel,
280 rooms, 650 condominiums, 80,000 square feet of
retail, over 700 million. And Pico is a Limestone
Group project which is on the planning board
that’s going to have, I think two hotels they’re
planning, over 1,100 rooms, two towers, 42 and 45
stories each, a piece, and 13,000 square
feet of retail. Again, nearing $1
billion in project total. Omni is also a group at 1212
South Fig with two towers, residential primarily, 820
South Olive, Omni Group again. Eighth and Spring,
Holland Partners, two residential towers. 801 South Olive, that’s
Carmel, two towers again. And you’ll hear from
Mr. Ratkovich talking about his project, The BLOC,
which has just finished and undergone major
renovation hosting the flagship of the Macy’s stores retail and the Sheraton Hotel
and office tower. And so many other projects
that he’s working on now in the [inaudible]
area and so forth. And these are just a few
projects that just come to mind that are on the drawing
board or completed. And then we have other
things like the LA Gateway, which will have three
towers, two hotels. They keep coming. These projects are, you will
see them for years to come. Regardless of what
the economy does, these projects are
either entitled or ready to break ground. And they will keep coming out
of the ground for years to come in our expanding LA City. They also have something
called the Avenue of Angels which is directed
up the Figueroa from the Ten Freeway
going north. We have the Historic Core, which
is the bring back Broadway area. The old bank buildings. Remember Title Insurance and
Trust, the company that I used to work for in the 70s
used to have their building on Spring Street, and the
major banks had their offices on Spring Street before
they moved further west. The Arts District, Mr.
Brandon Gill will be speaking about the Arts District which is
from Alameda over to the Wash. A very, very dynamic
and changing area. Something that is going to
host a major wealth of creative and new developments in
the arts industry as well. And we got the Fashion District. And something new to come in the future is finishing
the Bunker Hill Project, the Disney Concert Hall
loca [phonetic], the Broad, the Music Center,
Grand Avenue Project. So we have a lot to look
forward to coming online in this great city of ours. Now I’d like to take a moment to introduce our first keynote
speaker, Miss Carol Schatz. She’s the President and
CEO of the Downton Center of Business Improvement
District. She’s been doing
this for many years and has a wealth of experience. She heads a coalition of 1,700
property owners in the Center of the Downtown Los
Angeles Core. They have a budget of $6
million, and their goal is to make LA safe, clean
and presentable for tours, for people who live, work and have investments
in the downtown area. And she’s helped to bring
in millions of dollars of new investment into
the city of Los Angeles. Carol’s experience
and involvement over the years has truly
benefited the downtown area. Her leadership I can say
personally has enhanced the progress of DTLA that
we are now experience. Carol Schatz. [ Applause ]>>Carol Schatz: First of
all, let me say thanks, thank you to John
for inviting me back. I really appreciate it,
and it was also good to meet the President
of the university. I had not met him yet. I want to also recognize our
esteemed panel, Wayne Ratkovich, in my view, is one of
the leading developers in this region with a
sensitivity to civic life and what makes projects
really work in communities. So we were delighted when
he made his investment at the BLOC right in the center of the central Business
District. Chris was one of my first
chairmen when I came to CCA because I worked at CCA, Central
City Association, for my God, 26 years, something like that. And Chris was, worked
with me as we figured out what we were going to do
to make this downtown happen. Kevin Keller is, in my view, one of the best examples
of city leadership. Not only is he bright
and knowledgeable, but he’s a pleasure
to work with. Brandon, I just met
you this morning, but I have worked closely with
your, with Mr. Cushman himself from the time I came to CCA
to sell downtown Los Angeles. So gentlemen. And remember, after I go, don’t
say anything I wouldn’t say, which gives you a lot of space. Okay. So, all right. So, I became President of the Central City
Association in 1995. And I realized that
we had to do much more to bring this downtown back. I’m a native Angelino. I remember that we
avoided downtown for most reasons as
I was growing up. But it is sort of my way of
doing things that if I’m going to do it, I’m going
to make a difference, and that’s how I
presented myself to the world at that time. I remember telling the members
of Central City Association back in ’95 that we would take
downtown back one block at a time. And in doing that,
we would enliven and regenerate really the
whole city of Los Angeles. And I believe, and
I think the four of you would agree,
that has happened. So, in 1997, I came to our
property owners downtown and said, we need to create a
business improvement district. How many of you in the
audience know what that is? Okay. So, it is a financing
mechanism that downtowns all over the country and
now all over the world and other communities,
even in the suburbs, use when you’re dealing with a
blighted community and you want to bring it back to life. You assess your property owners
over and above the property tax, and we are the largest bid
by budget in Los Angeles. And with that money,
you put a crew of people out to make it safe and clean. You paint out graffiti,
all of that. And then in our case, because
we represented multinational corporations and
others, they insisted on marketing an economic
development. So that was a key
part of our mission. It was founded in ’98. I just talked about. And we are the portal for, I’m
sorry, I keep making this pop. We are the portal for
information downtown. And all parts of downtown, even though we represent
the 65 square blocks of the center of downtown. So, the renaissance. In my early years at CCA we
sat around trying to figure out what could make this happen. We came to the conclusion that housing would be the
critical element here. But in the meantime, the
most catalytic project without a doubt was Staples
Center, which opened in 1999. And so, 1999 is the sort
of the year, the BC and AD of the downtown renaissance. The other very important event
that took place, if you will, was the passage by
the City Council of the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance. And what that means very simply
is it gave, it made it easier for developers to convert old
office buildings to housing. Because we determined,
looking at every downtown around the country that
was of our size, etcetera, that if you don’t build a
critical mass of residents to live in downtown, then people
are going to continue to drive in and drive out, and you
have accomplished nothing. The business improvement
districts together, every five years,
contribute over $85 million to the infrastructure downtown. I don’t mean paving streets. I mean providing economic
development dollars, keeping their neighborhood
safe and clean and promoting downtown
in a variety of ways. And lastly, we worked
very hard to make sure that the City Council, the
County, State Legislature, understood that the, that making
downtown come back was critical to the economic revitalization
of the region. And I think we were very
successful in doing that. I said at the time,
and I still say, that you cannot define
a great city by a beach, two theme parks and a sign. You all know what I’m talking
about with the sign there? The Hollywood sign in case you,
some of you are very young. So, I have to say that. Okay, this is what, how many of
you have been to Bottega Louie? Okay. That’s what it looked
like before we did our thing. Amazing? And you can
see how successful it is as a restaurant. And one of the first Adaptive
Reuse projects is right above it, the Brockman Lofts. And the numbers speak
the enormity of what has taken place. So you can see that class
A office rental rates have increased 75% since 1999. One-bedroom condo prices
have increased 265%. The average apartment rent the
change of 94%, property value in our bid, which is what we
promised our property owners when they agreed to pay
more, a change of 204%. And retail lease
rates, a change of 50%. So, those are big numbers,
and there’s more to come. We have brought in not, and our
organization has touched much of that money, almost
$30 billion in investments since 1999. Now that is the biggest
number I’m going to put up there on the screen. But take a look at this. We had 11,000 residential
units in 1999. We have built almost
30,000 here. We have 9,600 units of
housing under construction. Whoever would have thought that we could get
people to live downtown. And there are 30,000
units of residential, 30,000 units are being proposed. We know we won’t see all of
that, but speaking of maps, this is one of my favorites. This is what the housing
looked like pre-1999 with those purple spots, okay. That’s in the second largest
city in the country, right. That is what it looks like now. Proposed, the yellow,
under construction, the blue, and the existing. The more dots, the better. Right guys? We’ve seen a 20% increase
in apartment rents, 20% decrease in class A vacancy. You can see that the numbers are
all going in the right direction in all the major market sectors. [Cough] excuse me. And our hotel industry
is on fire. So, not only do we have
9,600 residential units being constructed, 2.8 million
square feet of office space and over a million square
feet of retail space and 1,500 hotel rooms. And you can see what’s
being proposed. Again, enormous numbers. But think about how small
our downtown was really until all this happened. So we have the room
and the ability to bring in more and more. And more is a key word I’ll
talk about a little later. John mentioned Metropolis and
Oceanwide, which talk about, you know, the number
of condos going up, hotels, etcetera, and retail. The Grand Avenue Project,
which will be going up. How many are familiar with
the Erector Set Parking Lot in downtown on First and Grand. That’s going away, thank God. And we are going to
have, right Kevin. We’re going to have this
fabulous new development designed by Frank Gehry. This is a project that’s being
proposed for the Arts District, and whoever we thought we’d see
towers on Alameda Street right in the heart of our
Industrial District. So more than development,
you all, I think most of you have heard that
Warner Music is coming, thank you very much,
to the Arts District. We have all these wonderful
new businesses coming. New retail and our bid puts
on a Halloween party for kids. The Councilman Jose
Huizar sponsors a night on Broadway every year. We just had that. Our art walk is phenomenally
successful. And CicLAvia is in downtown
probably three times a year. Big challenge is homelessness. And conditions in Skid
Row and, excuse me, I’ve got to take a drink here, all over downtown have
deteriorated in that regard. There are resources that
will be allocated to this in the county and the city. Much more needs to be done. But if we don’t get a handle
on that, and this by the way, is the result of some court
decisions, not an increase in homelessness per se. So, which is something you
may not hear very often, but that’s the truth. All right. The future, more. What I’d like to say
is that’s the future. We want more of everything. We want more residential. We want more detail. We want more office. We want more cultural
institutions. And so, you can see what we
are, with the market sectors, we think need to
continue to expand. We think they will. And so the future looks
very bright for us. We will see movement
in three directions. More high-rise projects. More infill projects on
parking lots, etcetera. And expanding the area where
active development is occurring. What we’re looking for
is the population growth to hit critical mass. We have moved from 18,000
residents to 65,000. Something we never
thought we would see. Much more to come. And what’s really
wonderful now is that all of the neighborhoods are
beginning to blur so that, and that means that development
is spreading everywhere. And that is what, you
know, I said to everyone. If we do this, take me back
downtown, it will spread all over the city, and we’re going
to see development south to FC. We’re going to see
it west of the 110. North in Chinatown,
we’re seeing it already. So, and we invite you
to be part of the more. And we hope that you will enjoy
seeing your city become what we already think is a world-class
24/7 city for the future. Thank you very much. [ Applause ]>>John Gerro, Esq.: Carol, that
was a phenomenal presentation. Thank you. It was truly an eye
opener for people who haven’t seen all
of these details. This is truly a transformation that Los Angeles
is experiencing. Thanks to these gentlemen as
well for making that happen. And we look forward
to the future. And you do want more. We won’t settle for
less actually. Thank you. Before I introduce the speakers, I want to acknowledge
the assistance of Fran Hadien [phonetic] who is
a co-chair, and she spent a lot of time and effort in
arranging some of these details. Thank you, Fran. And of course, to Denise. And I thank Denise and
the Dean also, Dean Ramin. I appreciate that. It’s a pleasure to say a few
words about Wayne Ratkovich. He’s the founder and CEO of the Ratkovich
Company in Los Angeles. And the mission is to
profitably produce developments that improve the
quality of urban life. And we’ve seen that happening. That’s his mission. Specializing in urban infill
and rehabilitation projects, TRC’s accomplishments range from large-scale entitlement
endeavors to retail office, entertainment and mixed
projects, mixed-use projects. His company engages in
both new development and imaginative reuse of existing buildings
including 17 buildings that are historic landmarks. TRC is the developer of the
BLOC, B-L-O-C, a massive remodel of the former Macy’s
downtown Los Angles. The property is consisting
of almost 500 rooms in the Sheraton Hotel, 430
square feet of retail stores and 700,000 square
feet of office building and parking for 2,000 cars. It is truly a magnificent
project. TRC has developed the Hercules
Campus on 11 building complex in former Hughes Aircraft
Company’s buildings that have historic status. That’s in the Playa
Del Rey area. The 11 buildings consist
of over 525,000 square feet and are located on 28 acres
of land in Playa Vista area. The project was originally
developed in association with Penwood Real Estate
Investment Management. Seven of the buildings
are now owned in association with Investgo. The project is fully
leased to two tenants, Google and the advertising
firm 72 and Sunny. Quite an accomplishment. The firm also continues to
own and develop the Alhambra which is a 45-acre one million
square foot urban community consisting of office,
retail and residential use in the city right
here, at Alhambra. TRC is also the developer
of the prominent landmark, 5900 Wilshire, a 30-story 491
square foot high-rise office in the Miracle Mile. The city of LA recently
sought the TRC to develop 31 acres waterfront at the San Pedro
Public Market area. In total, Ratkovich
has developed over 16 million square feet
of office, retail, industrial and residential properties. Projects the company has to its record include the
James Avia [phonetic] Building, the Fine Arts Building, the
Palliser [phonetic] Building, the Wiltern Theater, Chapman
Market, Ladera Center, Urban Campus and Fashion
Institute of Design and Merchandise, the City
of Glendale’s Alex Theater and a variety of high-technology
complexes including the Irvine Technology Center and the
Von Karmen Corporate Center. As Trustee for the
Urban Land Institute, Wayne also served two terms
as Vice-Chairman and member of the Executive Committee
and currently serves on the Executive
Committee of ULI Americas. In 2011, they named him the Life
Trustee, an honor only given to 13 members in
the 75-year history of its 35,000 membership. He’s also a Trustee Emeritus
of the National Trust for historic preservation. Wayne Ratkovich. [ Applause ] I am pleased to also introduce
Mr. Christopher Martin of the A.C. Martin Project. He’s Project Manager and
also a Chief Architect. He’s third generation
leader in A.C. Martin, one of Southern California’s
oldest planning and architectural
firms here in LA. The architectural
firm has contributed to the economic vitality
of the downtown Los Angeles and the Civic Center and has
devoted a significant portion of its time to critical issues
facing the city of Los Angeles, as well as the state
of California. Martin Project Management
also is responsible for what you have seen, the Wilshire Grand
Redevelopment Project as the owner’s development
manager. Chris is resurrecting the
role of master architect that Albert C. Martin, Jr.
and J. Edward J. Martin played in the creation of
modern downtown skyline. I believe and hope it’s correct that his grandfather
designed the City Hall, and his father designed
the Department of Water and Power Building. Chris received his bachelor of
architect from the University of Southern California
and is a fellow of the American Institute
of Architect. He is a current board member of the Los Angeles Area
Chamber of Commerce. Current board member of the Lost
Angeles Center City Association, which we will hear later during
the lunch with Jessica Lall. He’s a current board
member and chair of the Los Angeles County
Economic Development Corporation and founding board member of the
Los Angeles Business Federation. As part of his commitment
to the community, he serves on the
board of directors for Children’s Hospital
Los Angeles, which again, is a major turn around and
major development in the city. As well as the Dean’s
Advisory Council for the School of Architecture at the
School of the University of Southern California. Welcome, Chris. [ Applause ] To his left is Kevin Keller, who
is the Deputy Director Planner for the City of Los Angeles. I’ve had the pleasure of
having him on a prior panel. He’s an extremely
knowledgeable person, and if anything’s happening
in LA, he knows about it. Kevin manages all long
project city planning activity for the city of Los Angeles. He oversees work for
the community planning, citywide planning,
historic preservation and code studies division. Prior to taking his post in
2016, Kevin worked as Director of Planning and Housing
Policy for Eric Garcetti and was Chief Advisor to
the Mayor on land use, development and housing
projects. Kevin joined the city
of Los Angeles back in the critical time, as Carol
said, BC/AC, that was 1999. And after receiving his master’s
degree in urban planning from Harvard University
Graduate School of Design, and his undergraduate degree in
environmental studies from UCLA. Again, if anyone knows
anything about what’s happening in Los Angeles, it’s Kevin. Welcome. [ Applause ] We’re happy to have
Brandon Gill, who’s an Executive Director
of Cushman Wakefield, one of the largest and most
active real estate companies here in town. And he is one of the most
accomplished brokers on a team of professionals working
at Cushman Wakefield in the downtown area and
focuses on conversion and adaptive reuse developments. And you’ll hear a
lot about that. With 20 years of
experience in the industry, Brandon specializes
in commercial and industrial brokerage. His expertise and market
knowledge led him and his team to be the forefront
of the revitalization of the Arts District in
downtown Los Angeles. By selling notable properties like the original Coca Cola
Building headquarters on Fourth and Traction, the Ford Motor
Company on Mateo, excuse me, at Mateo as well, Sixth and
Alameda and the 520, 532 Mateo, as well as the 929 Street
building Challenge Creamery. They all have been instrumental in the transformation
of the neighborhood. So he’s taking some of
these old historic buildings that have been mostly vacated
for years and have turned them into major new creative
developments. The neighborhood has definitely
increased as a result. Over the past four years,
Brandon and his team completed over three million square
feet in transactions valued in excess of $800 million. I really am proud
of that figure. Welcome Brandon. [ Applause ] At this point I’d like to ask
Mr. Wayne Ratkovich to come up and give us a little
presentation as to some of his projects and what
he’s doing at this time. [ Applause ]>>Wayne Ratkovich:
Thank you very much. John, thank you for the
introduction you just gave me. I, a lesson in the
virtue of short resumes. I’ll prepare on. What I wanted to do is start
off the discussion not so much about our real estate
projects but about the city of Los Angeles and its history. And that might put things,
this discussion into a context that could be a little
more interesting. We’ll see. Los Angeles is a
fairly new city. You know, it was
incorporated in 1850 and all of 1,600 residents in 1850. I really started looking at the
city of Los Angeles around 1900. And I looked at it in 50-year
increments from 1900 to 1950, 1950 to 2000, and
2000 and beyond. And I did that because I
wanted to have an understanding of where downtown
Los Angeles was, where our projects would fit
into that historic pattern. And I found it interesting,
and I hope you do as well. Let’s start with that
first 50-year period from 1900 to 1950. Downtown Los Angeles
was the center of all of Southern California. It was the core that
served the North, the South, the East and the West. Well, what does that mean? Well, certainly, it was the
center of business and finance. Spring Street was called
the Wall Street of the West. It was the center of government
as it continues to be today. That is, municipal,
county, state and federal. It was also the center of
the legal system serving all of Southern California. A little more surprisingly is
it was the center of retail for Southern California. One of the largest retail
stores in the country was built at Eighth and Broadway. And there’s a whole list of them that became prosperous
during that time period. What’s also a little surprising
is that downtown Los Angeles, not Hollywood, was the
movie capital of the world. It was dubbed the movie
capital of the world by the Los Angeles Times. Why is that? Well movies were made in
Hollywood in the 20s and 30s, but they were shown on Broadway. Twelve theaters in downtown
Broadway became a showcase for the movies that were
being produced in Hollywood. So downtown Los Angeles
had it all for a while. In spite of the depression,
that first 50 years of the last century
was important to downtown Los Angeles. And then the roof fell in. The next 50 years,
from 1950 to 2000. You can sort of mark it as
the end of World War II. Los Angeles was now a very
attractive place to live. It had been discovered by
thousands and thousands of people serving
in the military. It was connected
nationally by railroads. You could get from
Kansas to Los Angeles for a dollar in the early 50s. So Los Angeles now was
transforming in a different way. The Arroyo Seco Freeway
was built. That was the first of our
freeways in the 1940s. And that was just the beginning
of the freeways heading out to the suburb
literally in all directions. And with the freeways went a
lot of the vitality, commerce and energy of downtown
Los Angeles. The malls took place
in all four directions. Most of us have lived through
some of that period and been to the malls, know
what they’re like. It devastated downtown
Los Angeles’ retail. And it also devastated the
former entertainment center of downtown and Broadway. So off to the suburbs we went. And it was a good life. There was a TV program
that typified it. It was the Nelson
Family, Ricky Nelson and the Nelson family showed mom
and dad and the two boys living in the suburbs, and
it was just terrific. Yeah, the barbecue, you
had a swimming pool, and life was good out there. The city was essentially
abandoned. What was left, well the
legal profession was left. Government was left. There were some businesses
that remained. But it was a tough time. And so a redevelopment agency
was formed with the expectation and hope that that would,
that process would revitalize and redevelop downtown
Los Angeles. And they tried hard. The city tried hard. It did everything we
could, but it was a tough, tough time for downtown
Los Angeles. That redevelopment agency
effort took, for example, 155 acres in Bunker Hill,
reformed Bunker Hill. It eliminated all the housing
that was on Bunker Hill and set the stage for tomorrow,
for new buildings and new uses. Was it successful? That’s questionable
in my opinion. But it was nonetheless
done with the intention of revitalizing downtown. A lot of money was
spent by the city through the redevelopment
agency to subsidize development in downtown Los Angeles, and
to some degree it worked. The first high-rise building in downtown was the Union Bank
Building at Fifth and Figueroa. So we were taking form
as a different city. There was an effort
to bring people back. At the end of that 50-year
period, as you already heard, things began to change
to the positive side in downtown Los Angeles. And you see now happening what
Carol Schatz presented and some of the projects that
Chris has been a part of and that you’ll hear
from Brandon. Downtown Los Angeles is
today a very vital place. Well what happened? Well, Phil Anschutz
came to town, Anschutz Entertainment
Group came to town. Staples Center was located
at 11th and Figueroa. Why was that? Well, because you could come
from the north, the south, the east and the west
to downtown Los Angeles. And you only had to come
to downtown Los Angeles. You have to go through downtown
like you do for Dodgers Stadium. So it became a convenient
location. Then, of course, you have all
the visibility on the freeways. And you had an existing
parking reserve that justified the location. That was the beginning
of a big change. So was Disney Hall
and Bunker Hill. And so were other
developments, the Cathedral in downtown Los Angles. There seemed to be a spark. There seemed to be new energy. And South Park, which
has been stumbling for decades now had new life. And with that new life comes
that third 50-year period from 2000 to 2050, and
we’re all seeing today through Carol’s presentation
what that next 50 years
might look like. So that’s sort of the context. If you think about
what has transpired, we are sort of recreating what
existed in that first 50 years. Yeah, Broadway is not
movie theaters yet. But the entertainment is there. The entertainment is at
Staples Center and LA Live where you have 300 events,
over 300 events a year and four professional
teams performing there. So entertainment has come back. Retailing has come back. Yes it has. It’s stumbling back
at the moment. But retail has come back. Spring Street, which was
the Wall Street of the West and slumped for a long time
until it was characterized as part of Skid Row is now
home to a lot of younger people who are enjoying the
idea of the renaissance and the revitalization
of downtown. So the next 50 years
look very promising. Are there concerns? Sure, there are always concerns. We developers have a
wonderful reputation for overbuilding the market. We get too carried away with
our ideas and too carried away with what we think the future, how rosy the future
is going to be. And there’ll probably be
some bumps along the way. One of the unusual circumstances
that we have right now in downtown Los Angeles that
is a cause for something to be watched carefully is
the arrival of foreign capital in downtown Los Angeles
in a very, very big way. And there’s nothing wrong with foreign capital
coming into our marketplace. The question is, what is its
motive, and what is its purpose? Is it like the rest
of the market? Looking for profit, looking
for supply and demand. Looking at economic return, a
successful real estate project, or is it simply looking to
put capital in a safe place? And if your motive is to
put capital in a safe place, you need to be careful of
overbuilding the market. But that’s a condition that
we’re, we’ll see how it unfolds over the years to come. But certainly, downtown
Los Angeles has changed dramatically. My first project in downtown
Los Angeles was 40 years ago. And for 20 of those years,
it was a real challenge. Today, it is a much
more exciting and much more promising area. So thank you very much,
and I look forward to having more discussion
with you. [ Applause ]>>John Gerro, Esq.: That
was enlightening, Wayne, whose got an enormous
amount of experience. And thank you for that historic
time there and so forth. I just want to mention that the
tallest building in Los Angeles in 1970 was the, or 1965,
was the City Hall, right. There were 26 stories. That was the tallest building in
our city court for many years. And the university,
Southwestern University, which is now occupying the
Bullocks Wilshire Tower on Wilshire between just west,
excuse me, east of Vermont. When they built the
Bullocks Wilshire, which is a very prominent
historic building in 1929, that was for retail. And everyone had mentioned
you were too far away from Los Angeles
in this building, and this business
will fail, right. Dr. Neilson is shaking his head. Because it was out
of the city court. And then everything, like Wayne
said, was downtown retail. Everything is Spring
Street, which has gone through a major transformation. But we’ve seen things change. I’d like to introduce
Mr. Chris Martin to talk about some items here
on new developments. [ Applause ]>>Christopher C.
Martin: Thank you, John. Somewhere on here I
have a PowerPoint show. And is this it? As we’re loading that up,
I first also want to say, Wayne’s comments were
really fantastic. The history of Los Angeles. In many ways, we’re
all partners. Actually Wayne and I were
partners in the ownership of the Fine Arts Building
back in the mid-1980s. Carol Schatz and I
worked together so closely that I would finish
her sentences, or she would tell
me when I was wrong. It worked both ways. Kevin Keller in the planning
department was the very first government official
involved in the development of the Wilshire Grand. And Brandon with Cushman
and Wakefield, John Cushman, the third- generation member
of Cushman and Wakefield, who I first met in 1969. Wow, that’s a while ago. But they are the first
tenant in the Wilshire Grand, but they were also the property
manager and did all the leasing of the building, which
is still ongoing. So, I’m going to take you
through a tour of just one of these capital investments. But before I do that, I want
to position this as a question. Why are we revitalizing
downtown LA? Why is that necessary? And the reason is,
it’s not just one job. We’re not just trying to
invest money in one project and do it successfully. We’re trying to rebuild the
fabric of Los Angeles because, like it or not, LA is
a major world city. And what’s the definition
of that? Start with Rome. All roads led to Rome. Now that’s 300 years
before Christ. But Rome was the capital of
the world really at that point. And you could go to Rome and
it provided needs to the, access to the needs of man. When they built the city
of a world class city had to have four fundamental
things, water, power, flood control and security. And you think back if
you’re a history buff, yeah, Rome did that. It was, you know, where
the rivers crossed, this was the place. And they have water power,
flood control and security. And then they developed things
for access to the needs of man. Man needed structure
in his society. He needed housing. He needed governmental
centers for decision making. He needed financial centers
for means of exchange. But he also needed access
to the rest of the world, whether it was by roads or
it was by water and ports. Now, contrast that
to Los Angeles. Los Angeles is 18 million people in I think it’s 83 separate
communities, cities. And we have world
class capability, not only in our water and power
and flood control and security, which we question sometimes
if it’s adequate enough. But it’s also access to
education, to housing. This university plays
a fundamental role in education of the population. So this aspect, this
project that I’m going to show you is a project
that is about tourism as one of our major industries and how
to provide the highest quality of tourism, housing and convention facilities
along with office space. And it’s all connected by
roads, by the rail system that works underneath it, by the
sidewalks and the public access. And it’s connected to each
one of you because this is one of the few buildings where
we’ve said it’s not a corporate headquarters where the top is
visited only by the executives. This is a building that we want
the 18 million people who live within 45 minutes of
this building to say, I’m going down there
to that hotel. I’m going to have
dinner on the top. I’m going to have drinks. Kevin was down there last night
having dinner with his family. It’s his project. There’s ownership to this. We want Angelinos, the
broader sense of Angelinos, to really experience
this project and feel that it’s there. It is a public building
for them to enjoy. And I got to say, when you go
to the bar on the 73rd floor and have a drink, and you
are more than welcome to go, you will have this wonderful
vista from the Hollywood sign to the north to Saddleback
Peak in Orange County to the Catalina Islands to the San Gabriel
Mountains behind you. You have this wonderful view. And that one bar on the 73rd
floor serves more alcohol than the rest of the 22
other bars in the hotel. Okay. I’ve gone out there, and I interview people
who are out there. I say, do you like this? And they all love it. And they are the
fabric of the community. Now this project also
employed 11,000 people during its construction. And it was a 1,350,000,000
investment that we delivered on time. We were under budget. There’s $7 million
left in the budget. The owner is finding
ways to spend that. And there are no lawsuits. All of our subcontractors,
everybody’s finished the job. They walked away. They said, this is fantastic. I made some money. It was on time, on budget. I’m happy. So it’s a fantastic job, and
I’m going to go on too long. So now I’m just going to tell
you a little bit about it. It’s got great visibility
on the city. By the way, over
to the left there in this picture,
that’s LA City Hall. My grandfather came to
LA, this kind of links to Wayne’s comments, in 1902
to work with his brother who was a Vincentian priest
starting Loyola High School. And my grandfather then was
an architect and an engineer, and he did the Million Dollar
Theater when Wayne was talking about theaters on Broadway. It was a Million Dollar Theater because Sid Grauman spent $1
million building it in 1917. They cost a lot more today. He did LA City Hall in 1927 with
John Parkinson and John Austin. And I actually had the
opportunity to rebuild it with my cousin, David, my
father, Ed Martin, my uncle, Al Martin, and my
son, Patrick Martin. We had three generations of our Martin family
doing the renovation of Grandfather’s City Hall. So we’ve been here a long time. This is our 112th year. Wilshire Grand is a
very unique engineering architecture project. It is interesting from
a structural standpoint because it’s a very
tall building. It’s narrow in one side
and long in the other. And it bends and moves and
seismic and wind events because we have active and passive dynamic
devices within the building. I may even be able to
show you a few of them up here in the sky lobby. The 70th floor of the building
is the lobby where people enter. If you go down for a drink or
for dinner, get in the elevator of the ground floor, and
it will take you to 70. Get off on 70, have a drink
there, and then ask if you can to up to the 73rd floor. There’s a shuttle elevator
to take you to the 73rd. The sky lobby is on 70, and that’s what it looks
like in a rendering. Right now, it looks
quite different because it’s full of people. Those diagonal braces are BRBs,
buckling-restraint braces. They are shock absorbers, and
they move very small distances that they absorb energy and
allow the building to move in wind loading and
seismic events. A really innovative feature
that we didn’t have years ago. They’re new today, and you
wouldn’t have a car today that didn’t have shock
absorbers, believe me. And high-rise buildings, you
need these sorts of things. They’re really much
more advanced. The building has
commanding views. It’s got double-deck
elevators, and this is daunting for the hotel operator,
intercontinental. The day they started,
they didn’t know how to tell the hotel
occupants how to use it, so they finally got
it figured out. The elevators to the
building are quite simply, it’s like a train
with multiple cars. But computer systems
allow you to tell people when you enter this building
what floor are you going to and then tells you
what car to get into. And it takes you, there’s no
buttons inside the elevator. You tell it where you’re
going, it tells you which cab to get into, and
it takes you there. You don’t need to know
about the climate of LA, but this is really,
LA is what we call in the industry a 365-day city. We don’t close down the
roads when it snows. The climate is rather
temperate most of the year, which enables us to use
features like sky lobbies and outdoor patios
for meeting spaces. This hotel has 36
different assembly spaces, and a number of them
are outside. This is the porte cochere where
you come in through the entry, and you can make a choice to
go to the hotel on the left or the Convention Center
on the right or straight out through the doors and out
to the patio which takes you to the office building where
Brandon goes to work every day. This is the lobby in the center,
which is also a coffee shop. That’s the center of this hub. Under construction, a
photo of the seventh floor. This takes you to the pool deck. This is a rendering of the 73rd
floor open air bar, sky bar. The owner of this hotel
is Korean Airlines, and their Executive Chairman
Y.H. Cho is an Angelino. He is, of course, Korean, but this is his second home
is here in Los Angeles. He loves America. He grew up in Korean during the
Korean War, and the US Army, his words, not mine,
saved our country. And he’s indebted to America. He loves the US Army, and he
wanted to make an investment in Los Angeles because
the Korean population in Los Angeles is the second
largest Korean population in the world. First is Seoul, and
LA is second. But quality was what
he was after. And he said, give me the
highest quality possible. Don’t gold plate it. And along that way,
the question came up about hotel rooms having
the opportunity to open for natural ventilation. This building has it. You know the location. It’s the corner of
Wilshire and Figueroa. If you don’t, go down
there and take a look at it and go in the building. But it’s got a unique ability
to knit together the fabric of downtown, the Jewelry
District, South Park, Fashion District, the
Financial Core, Bunker Hill. And, of course, the
emerging residential, which is now becoming so
dynamic it’s virtually right in the center of that. This is perhaps one of the
finest locations in Los Angeles, the corner of Wilshire
and Figueroa. And when Chairman Cho bought
that property, he bought it in 1986 with an old hotel on it. And he said, my goal was
to get a four-star hotel. He said what I think I got was
four one-star hotels rolled into one. He was very disappointed with
the quality of the old hotel. And he came to me in 2007,
and he said, what do I do? And I said, well,
you could paint it. And I said you could paint it or
you could tear it down and build to the highest and best use. And he said, that’s
what I want to do. That’s a very long story
of how we got there. We could talk about
it in Q&A if you want. This is the lobby, or
the plaza, the building, you see the way the
tower footprints on the right, top right. This is the plaza today,
although this is a rendering. It looks better in real
life than the rendering. I’ll tell you an interesting
little thing about it. This is California
architecture taken on steroids. The architecture of the top of
this building is a reference to the Sierra, and the curve on
the top is the top of Half Dome with a spire, which was one of the only buildings
that has a spire. And this is the Merced River
at the base of Half Dome. And this is the rest of the
surrounding Sierra Hills. There’s a lot, a lot of
imagery in this building, and I won’t go into detail. But it’s on a great location. It’s very efficient
from an energy efficient city standpoint. We use natural airflows
through the building. We open louvers on the
leading edge of this, which is the southwestern
corner. And use natural ventilation, both in the office
and in the hotel. This is a hotel floor. There’s, it’s actually,
there’s 1,100 bathrooms. There’s 900 suites or rooms, and
some of them are multi-bedrooms. So that’s why we end up
with a count of 890 rooms. In construction, this project
started, it was a three-shift, seven days a week,
employing 11,000 people. It was impossible to build
without doing it that way. So the bathrooms, each bathroom
would have represented 2,000 trips for people to come in and install plumbing,
tile, wallpaper. We built them outside
in Madeira, California and wrapped them up and
sent them down as pods and inserted them
into the building. We actually ended up
with a higher quality. These are the bathrooms being
made in Northern California. And we also did this with a development
agreement with the trades. They were partners to this as
well, and they loved this idea because they knew the difficulty
of building something this big. So, they were very helpful with
us in our development agreement. The structure has a solid
concrete core wrapped around the elevators. And those walls are
four feet thick. There’s these braces which
I refer to that reach out and engage the perimeter
steel columns, a very unusual dynamic system. And you may remember the
pouring of the foundation which was February of 2014. The foundation of this building
is the world’s largest single concrete pour in world history. Now there’s a lot of big pours
that are bigger than this because they’re multiple pours. But this is the largest
single pour, and it was done in a 17 1/2-hour period. And it was a lot of fun,
we made a day of it. I’m going to move
through this quickly. This is the building going up with enhanced fire
life safety systems. I mentioned the core. The walls were so thick that
we actually put a fireman’s elevator in it and said the
fire department had access to that elevator. Could take them to any
floor in the building with an advanced video system in the cab showing them
the condition of the floor. This is chill water storage. We do that because
it makes sense. We buy electricity at night when the DWP has extra electrons
they don’t know what to do with. They’ll sell them
to us at a bargain. We make chill water and
store it for the next day. Some wonderful features. This is the fireman’s
tactical approach. We don’t want helicopters
on the top, but if they absolutely have to, we let them approach
the building on that tactical approach. So, I think I’m going
to go on too long. I don’t want to take
any more time. This has been a fantastic
project because it, all along we realized, and
going back to Wayne’s comments about foreign capital. LA had a terrible reputation
of not being able to come to LA and get permits and
entitlements and build it. So we said, this is going to be an international
investment that’s going to demonstrate to the world
that you can come to LA, get your entitlements, get
your permits, build a building and deliver, finished, on
time, on design, on budget, and people like Kevin
Keller were key to that. The real partnership
between the City Hall and the development team, and
we delivered this project. So I’m going to end
my comments here. This is a good place to stop. And John, I’ll turn
it back to you. [ Applause ]>>John Gerro, Esq.: Thank you. Thank you, Chris, that’s
a fantastic project, and obviously, everyone’s
going to have a chance to go over there and see it firsthand. Now at this time, we’re going
to ask Kevin Keller to come over and give a presentation
on what’s happening with the city in general. And this is a very,
very interesting time for the city of Los Angeles. [ Applause ]>>Kevin Keller:
Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a real pleasure
to be a part of such an illustrious panel. I know, really, the city is
a partner in these endeavors, but without the drive
and desire of key people, all these projects are brought
to you by people and ideas. We’re just very, very privileged
to be part of reviewing and helping these projects go
through a real approval system. And I think looking
at Wayne’s remarks, you just nailed it
I the beginning about that history of downtown. So I’m going to blur over
that a little bit here. But also, having Chris
Martin’s team really deliver. We talk about raising
expectations and what downtown can be
like and showing examples for our future vision. And when I say our
future vision, that’s the really the
community’s future vision. It’s really, really
great to be able to point to really success stories
that have been win-wins and really not just
the entire downtown but really the entire
region of LA is proud about. You cannot think about how
many millions of people drive by the freeway, see
that building going up and are just proud to be part
of LA to see another, you know, really beautiful
contribution to our core. So, with that, I’m going
to just do a quick tour. It is such, again, I think
we all have the same slides, which is really great. But I might just
zip through a few. But again, from the city’s
perspective in city planning, we do a lot of the
project review. We don’t build anything. We don’t do any of
the hard work. But really help to
clear both projects, but also create master
plans for the future. I want to spend some time
on that for downtown. So, we’re just going
to zoom past this. So we talked a little bit about downtown’s past
and revitalization. You know, as I think
Wayne mentioned, it was the center of the town. Here are some images of that. It was the place to be. And then for the sake of
time, I’m going to move on because I could
not say it better for that first 19 to 1950. We, I think Carol
this morning talked about some major initiatives
that this city adopted that were really key
to allowing downtown to flourish in a modern age. The Adaptive Reuse Ordinance. This was 1998. It’s a planning legislation
piece that basically removes
some of the hurdles for taking existing space and
remaking it into residential. For example, one big hurdle,
you had to provide parking for residential units. Well, here’s a delving. Where does the parking go? It’s there. Are you going to
put it underground? No, there’s no ability to have
parking, so the new rule said, if you’re filling an existing
building, no parking’s required. Off you go. It’s downtown. And these simple changes
really unleashed the market. So it’s not that the
city made it happen, but the city basically
got out of the way and allowed development
to occur. Some of the revitalization
you’ve seen with having residents
downtown walking around, activating the streets. Bringing with them, just
kind of like a chain of ecology restaurants, bars,
offices, all that kind of stuff. We are very focusing as well at
the city on transit investment. I think downtown is a rising
star in really being located with a lot of options
for transit. Again, the 50s it was
all about freeways. Those are wonderful. They don’t work when
they get crowded. People are really
trying to work closer, live closer to where they
work and maybe have options. You don’t have to take transit,
but if you are taking transit, as you can see, downtown
is really at the core of that system. We’re also working with Metro on the downtown regional
connection, which is a really
exciting project. A lot of construction downtown. But it’s going to link some
of our light rails directly through downtown and
create some new stations. Obviously, also, we can’t forget
our streetcar here on Broadway. Focusing on the public
realm is also important. Part of what makes downtown
downtown is really its interaction and its
civic spaces. It’s not a mall. It’s not a, you know, a
privatized environment. It’s a place for all people. How do we help create
an environment that really welcomes all people? And it’s a real challenge
in downtown, and I think you heard
some themes that we’ll touch base here. But things like park
lights, more park spaces, safe and clean sidewalks. We have an image here of one
of our new bus loading zones. We almost got to do
this on Seventh Street. We didn’t get successful,
but the idea of some of these bus pads that
really prioritize and treat with dignity people
that are taking transit and make it a little
bit easier to do. There’s also the bike there. We’ve done some recent
work in LA City planning on creating tailored
regulations for some of our subdistricts in downtown. Little Tokyo, the
Broadway Design Guide, a lot of emphasis on Broadway. Night on Broadway was I
think three weeks ago. I went. I think there
was over 100,000 people. It was packed downtown. And really, everyone was just
celebrating this architectural gem that’s really for all
of our region downtown. We have, you can see down here, we have special rules
for rooftop signs. We don’t allow those anymore, but we now allow them
again on Broadway. So, come and build one. Let’s see. Broadway is there. You have Pershing
Square on the lower left, which is kind of
LA’s Central Park. Kind of a little more petite. But also the river,
and I’m sure we’ll talk about the river a little
bit next, the lower right. But there’s a lot of
emphasis on creating a river that really is an access point. So again, this really
helps downtown. We talked about,
I can’t beat Carol about all the attention
downtown is getting. 2015 we did a survey
at 50,000 residents. Now you hear that
we’re at 65,000. I’ll talk a little bit more about the projections
for our master plan. We talked about an investment. I think Carol had even
better numbers, but you know, the investment is
really important because it doesn’t just
build, it provides jobs. It provides housing. It provides opportunities
for the different types of neighborhoods around
downtown to really benefit. That’s everything from your
kind of white collar office, you know, office architecture,
law firms to service industries, manufacturing, things like that. We want to have a broad
and diverse job base. Looking forward, there’s some
challenges and a few big ideas that the city plan
is working on. We’re working on the
details, a 2040 master plan. This is a draft document
that will likely be released with an environmental
induct report this year. Looking to help chart out an
official adopted master plan for downtown through
the year 2040. We do anticipate, and I think
again, channeling the word more, downtown is a growth area. So we do anticipate 125,000
more people in downtown by 2040. We’re only at 65 right now. Seventy-thousand
additional housing units in the master plan for downtown. Again, this is important because
this represents about 20% of the growth of our
city is going to be in this 1% of the area. If you look around the city,
the city is kind of full. Some neighborhoods are
like, we’re fine, thank you. No more traffic, you know. It’s all about traffic, people. The living and having
walkable neighborhoods. But downtown is one of the
few areas where it makes sense to really emphasize
smart growth. You don’t have to have a car. Maybe you minimize
your carbon footprint. You can walk places. You can interact. You don’t have to live downtown. You can live in the hills. You can live in your beach
condo, whatever you want to do. But some people want
to live here. Let’s make it happen for them. You can tell I go to a
lot of community meetings. Sorry. Important
for affordability. It’s nice to see the
market rents going up that helps fund new activity. But also, it can be
affordable to whom. How do we make sure
there’s a mix of housing types
that we’re producing? We talked about the
unique needs of Skid Row and the homeless
services in the area. Skid Row’s one of our
neighborhoods downtown, just like every other
neighborhood downtown. It has its unique needs. And we need to have a master
plan that really addresses and helps reinforce and
services that area as well. We talked about some of the
distinctive neighborhoods. I remember Carol said
they’re going to blur. I think that’s wonderful. They’re also going to help
kind of create these frontiers of subdistricts and meandering
and commercial ability to kind of really explore downtown. Industrial lands queueing up, I
guess, for some Arts District. It’s not a free-for-all. It’s zoned blue, that blue
color is our industrial zone. Which we did not allow
housing in a lot of times. But we are now looking at our
new plan to really open up and allow creative office,
mixed use residential in really targeted parts
of the Arts District. Recognizing that today,
to attract development, oftentimes you need to
create an environment that has people living there,
and then the jobs will follow. So that’s one of our concerns. Amenities throughout downtown
parks are obviously a big concern downtown as we have
people moving downtown. How does that work? Transit and accessibility. This is a big interesting
map showing kind of your transit service. The green areas have more
access to transit, bus systems, light rail, heavy rail. The more red areas and orange
areas are not served currently by transit. Those may have been the
older industrial areas. In many ways, these are
some of the same areas that we’re really encouraging
residential uses in. So how do we kind of get ahead
of the curve and plan maybe to extend some, you know, I don’t get to make
these decisions, but how does the city
help organize and inform that we might be able to make
some light rails stations. There’s a discussion
about Alameda light rail. One of the options might be to
veer into the Fashion District and provide a station there to help serve some
future populations. So, really quickly, the
downtown plan really emphasizes, and I didn’t write this
phrase, but a strong core. It sounds like a yoga
studio or something. A strong core is important
to the health of the city. That really as a
city we all benefit from having a healthy downtown. So four of the main points
of, and these are things that have been crowd
sourced with the community. We had a pop-up store on
Broadway for two weeks. And we’ve got people
just walking by to tell us what they thought. We’re doing some workshops. We go out there and try
to listen to everybody. But being bold and providing
bold growth downtown. I think this is actually a
shot of the concrete pour that Chris Martin
was mentioning. With tactical preservation. So preserving the best of
the existing environment, making room for new things. Keeping downtown jobs centric. It is all about jobs downtown. We want to have housing as
well, but we don’t really want to have it at the expense of
continued job growth downtown. So where we have
the Arts District, we want to see housing
coming in. But really as part of
employment opportunities relate to balance those two out. We talked about the designing
comfortable spaces for everybody to move around and interact in. And that’s a challenge. But that’s something
that we want to emphasize in the master plan for downtown. And then on the regulation
point of view, focusing on what do we
want buildings to do? What do we want the
form to look like? And maybe less on using and
zoning and parking and some of the regulations that
really are more appropriate for suburban neighborhoods than
really downtown being the core. So, what the plan will be doing
is really raising expectations. We are raising our
expectation on the city side about what we want
to see coming in. From a design point of view,
from a quality point of view, from an inclusive point of
view, at the same time we need to raise expectations
on how the city reviews and processes things. It can take a while. I mean, I know they’re
being nice. It can take a while for us to
get to the permit stage and get through the systems
and have a hearing. So we want to do our best on
our side to really have projects that are meeting
all the regulations and doing what the
master plan says. How do we kind of
remove barriers? How do we get out of the way
and let those go quickly? And also have a process
for the ones that are a little different. That’s okay, but that should
need to go through a hearing or do something special. If you follow the rules,
maybe you get to move faster. One of the big things
is that evolution of parking versus people. We’re still going to
have cars downtown. One of the things we spend
a lot of the time, sorry, no one’s building on the right. I’m glad that is, but it’s one of my least favorite
buildings on the right. In terms of how garages
are designed. How is parking designed? Is it a little more seamless,
or is it just like a glaring box of parking with a
building on top? We’re really moving forward on
how we’re integrating modes. We’re also encouraging flat
parking decks with a side ramp to allow conversion in 10, 15, 30 years to other
uses if that happens. And we talked about we need
to develop the skyline. I really want to highlight
Chris Martin’s work. We talked about the
spire on Wilshire Grand. He was being modest that he and his colleagues really
helped reform our rules which had not allowed spires on buildings basically
since, I think, the 50s. We had mandated a
full helicopter deck on those towers,
never had been used. They’re very expensive. I think Wilshire showed the city
that there’s alternative ways to do that with improvements that the fire department
actually prefers. He mentioned those fire
department elevators. We’ve got that in there. So in the future we’re going
to allow more use of rooftops, more articulated, you
know, different shapes on the skyline totally
to help shape that. This is, for all of your
zoning nerds out there, this is our new zoning. I’m really into zoning. I can’t get enough of it. But we’re trying to produce new,
we’re rezoning all of downtown to be a lot more foreign-based. It’s kind of trendy. We’re not going whole-hogged on
the foreign-based only thing. You’re still going to
have commercial areas and residential areas. But a lot more emphasis on
how the building interacts with the street and
how it looks and feels versus what happens within it. There’s still rules, believe me. But every street’s
going to be labeled in terms of is it a midrise? Is it a high-rise area? Does it expect you to have kind
of stores and shop fronts on it? Or is it a more industrial area
where you can just, you know, do a solid wall, do
whatever you want. If you do walk around,
next time you’re on Melrose and you’re walking around,
and you feel like, this is, I really feel, I
enjoy shopping here. This is great. You know, stop yourself
and look around and say, why do I feel so
comfortable here? Are there trees? Is there a wide sidewalk? Are there lots of storefronts with activity and
light coming in? Melrose has no curb cuts. Everything’s alley-loaded,
so there’s no cars coming in and out, you know,
going to run you over. These are the kinds of
things we’re trying to create that environment
for investment in. And I was asked just, I think, I only have a couple
more slides here. Notable projects. One of the things we’re
excited about, I think, and John was encouraging us
to talk about is really what’s that next wave of investment. Because we’re really
not done downtown. And so I think he actually
went through a lot of these. I just want to show
you some of the images of what the planning department
is looking at right now. So this is Olympia. It’s actually the
towers on the left. That’s the JW Marriott, which I
actually was privileged to work on that building as well. But this is something that
we’re looking at right now. It’s 1,300 units. It’s about 65 stories tall. And would be another one of what
we’d call transfer development rights where we go kind of
above and beyond the standards and allow some taller buildings
in exchange for some benefits. So that’s going to really
shape the skyline on that one. You can see on the right-hand
side is the Oceanwide project which is also a rendering which
is under construction now. Which is here, Oceanwide Plaza,
I think there was a reference to the ribbon of signage. We carefully regulate signage, but in this area we’re letting
things go a little crazy. So you can kind of
see this is right across from the Convention
Center and Staples, and there’ll be this
digital ribbon here in this landscape deck. And there’s actually
three towers there. That’ll be completed soon. In the Civic Center we have
Times Mirror Square which is, again, one of the
first high rises in the Civic Center
in a long time. A little shorter than City
Hall, there’s some issues on how tall is it
versus City Hall. But again, 1,100 units
right next to Metro Station, right next to the
former LA Times Building. Which they’re still there. They don’t own it
anymore though. Angels Landing which
is in Bunker Hill. Bunker Hill has a lot
of potential still. This tower on the left is a
rendering at Fourth and Hill. There’s a Metro Station there. This is the quasi park space. It isn’t a park space
that was in some 500 Days of Summer movie if you saw it. But the city owns it and had
put out a request for proposals for a new tower there with a lot of different uses including
an elementary charter school. Which is something that the
community had really been looking for. Arts District I think
we’ll talk about. There’s some fairly large
proposals for the Arts District as a new phase, which is
something the city is really going to have to look at. No take on whether that’s a
good thing or a bad thing, but there’s 6AM which
is over 1,300 units. And then there’s the
Mesquit Project which is one of our first proposed riverfront
projects it he Arts District with about 308 units
and a hotel. Not everything is new. The ROW DTLA is the
home of Smorgasburg, which is an outdoor food
festival every I think Sunday or Saturday. This is the former American
Apparel Industrial Complex which is really being
repositioned as potentially a
creative office, ginormous creative
office campus. That’s an official term. And something that
we’re really excited about bringing some
tenants to downtown and to the Arts District, so
you’ll hear more about that. And then I think Carol talked
about the Grand Avenue Project which is designed by Frank Gehry
right across from Disney Hall. And this project had received
its planning approvals quite some time ago. But again, just getting
planning approvals you have to actually get it funded. Again, we don’t actually
build anything. So once it gets its
approvals there. Two things, we have this tower and then the Fashion
District flower market. The Fashion District is
another emerging frontier of development. We currently do not allow
residential development in the Fashion District. It’s just east of South Park. A lot of activity, San
T [phonetic] Market, you may have shopped there. But we are seeing some vertical
construction happening there as well. These are mixed income
projects as well because it’s very
important in this area that we see each building really
provides some onsite affordable housing, as well as
market rate housing. There’s Broadway Tower,
which is the first tower. This is under construction
on Century and Broadway. And I think my last slide
is an adaptive reuse hotel that just opened, the
NoMad at Seventh and Olive. So just wanted to share that
little vision of what we get to see early on and
hopefully everyone gets to see in the future. But the downtown plan is live. I think it’s going to help
be informed by everyone here. And a lot of our kind of
varying gage panelists here. And we look forward to releasing
this at the end of this year and going through a public
adoption process as far as the end of this year
and probably early 2019. So thanks very much for the
opportunity to say hello. [ Applause ]>>John Gerro, Esq.:
Thank you very much. That was quite informative. Kevin, is that NoMad
Bank of Italy, is that the original B of A? I think AP Giannini was the
one who started Bank of Italy and then went to
Bank of America. At this time, I’d like to
ask Brandon Gill to come up and give us a little talk on the
Arts District, and that’s his, basically, that’s his territory. And he knows it well. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Brandon Gill: Well
I just want to start by saying thank you, John. I really appreciate this
opportunity [inaudible] for this opportunity
to participate in the discussion today for the
revitalization of downtown LA. This is a tough act to follow. John Cushman couldn’t be
here today, so unfortunately, you’re stuck with Brandon
Gill, whoever that is. And so, to give you a little
bit about my background, I came to LA as a student
at USC about 25 years ago. And I really watched
downtown change dramatically. When I was a student at USC,
it was not a safe area to be. And President Sample was
very instrumental in kind of changing the campus,
changing the school. I think the image of
the school changed. And during that time, we
watched downtown blossom. Watching Staples and
then seeing, you know, as they mentioned, the Disney
Concert Hall and the Cathedral, the new Cathedral being built. And so, as I grew
in the industry, I had been a salesman
focused on industrial. And the better part of my
career, my first decade of my career, it was exclusively
focused on leasing and sales and industrial real estate
in and around downtown LA. And so, one day about five years
ago, maybe six, seven years ago, I woke up and I realized
that I was in a neighborhood that had potential
for greater things. And the Arts District has
given me this potential to foster my relationships
with a lot of individual owners and being able to show
them the potential of what these buildings
could be. And downtown has kind
of followed suit. You know, we talk about
the transformation that we’ve seen here in
downtown, but we’ve seen it in other parts of the world. And what’s been exciting
for me is the fact that I’ve had these
relationships with these owners that have owned these
properties. Most of them were owner users
and had industrial businesses that they operated out
of these facilities. And then one day
their business ended, and they became landlords. And they realized
what it would take to actually execute
a project like this. And so in April of 2014, I sold
this project to Shorenstein, who’s a developer
out of San Francisco. We had 25 offers
on this property. And so what I’d like to do,
because I think, you know, Wayne and Chris and Kevin all
really did a very nice job of kind of explaining the
context and the themes of what’s happening
in downtown LA. I think really touching
on the values and what’s happened is what I
can provide maybe my perspective in this conversation. And so, I leased this building
in 2008 to American Apparel for 27 cents gross per square
foot, the whole building. And then I turned around
and sold it, as I said, in April of 2014
for $110 a foot. Shorenstein bought the
building three times since then, converting it to creative
office which they leased to Warner Music for
325 triple net. And so, that’s the theme that,
you know, I see in downtown LA. That’s my perspective
is the fact that we’ve seen values
basically quadruple and then sometimes X
five of what they were when they were industrial
call it 10, 15 years ago. One of the things that
we’ve been talking about with my colleagues,
so I just came over to Cushman about
a year ago. And I was at CB for 15
years prior to that. And one of the things that we
knew but we never took the time to figure out was what is the
industrial base of downtown LA? With all this new, all
these new conversions, all these new projects, we really have seen the
diminishing of our base. So I took the time earlier this
year, and I hope you appreciate that this is something
that I’m really working on, kind of it’s work in progress. And I think that this is
something that’s very relevant for our conversation today. And this is something
that I share with a lot of property owners in and
around downtown LA is the fact that what’s happening? Like, why are the
values so high? What else can we dig into
and get more data-driven to kind of figure this out. And so I went through
the entire, I went through the
entire database of Cushman and Wakefield. When I was at CB we
quoted the industrial base as being 129 million
square feet. So this is just the
downtown LA submarket. At the end of last year,
Cushman quoted it at 123. I was able to eliminate
21 million square feet from our inventory. And so, the new base starting
this year of 2018 is just over 100 million square feet. And so you think about
that in the perspective when we’re talking
about all these projects that are getting built. These numbers are
pretty dramatic. This is like Bunker
Hill just got developed. And so you now see
where did this go? Where did this square
footage go? And so you look at
the percentages. Thirty-seven percent
was just buildings that over time have been taken
by school, eminent domain, a lot of other things
that in duplications. But if you look at kind
of the bigger numbers, you see that industrial
is now being converted to higher and better uses. We’re seeing mixed use
office, residential, retail. And this is really
changing what I’m doing. And what I’ve realized is I’m
selling myself out of a job as an industrial broker. But I think it also speaks to
what’s happened in downtown LA. And piggybacking on the
remarks of Wayne is most of the industrial market in
downtown LA was built pre-1950s. Probably I would say less than
10% of it was built after 1980. And so these buildings in
today’s economy and the needs for industrial users, they
just don’t satisfy these needs. You see these large 53-foot
containers and semis driving up and down our freeways that
you’re competing and contending with in traffic, these
older buildings can’t accommodate these. These older buildings like
the Ford Motor Factory, when Henry Ford built that and said I can sell
you any color you want as long as it’s black. You know, I think
that those buildings at one time served a purpose. And the exciting thing is, these older buildings are now
getting a second shot at life. We’re seeing them
being converted to these higher new uses. And it’s exciting because
we’re seeing new industries. Because these older
buildings, unfortunately, can’t accommodate the needs
of FedEx, the needs of Amazon, the needs of UPS, where
they need to be able to have one loading door for every 10,000 square
feet of warehouse. They need to be able to
accommodate 135-foot truck court because they need to accommodate
these large 53-foot containers. And so you’re seeing these older
buildings unfortunately get to the end of their
useful life of industrial, and now we’re seeing
them getting repurposed for these higher
and better uses. And so at one time we were
talking about values of 50 cents for these industrial properties. And now we’re talking
about 325 net. And so it’s really exciting
to see this in our lifetime and this change, and
I think, you know, we do go into a dark
ages of downtown LA where when I was a student and
started my professional career as a real estate broker
at Grubb and Ellis, I worked in 1000 Wilshire, and
I would remember like going to work and then literally when the work bell rang,
there was an exodus. And the nice to see now is
downtown LA is becoming this 24/7 environment. And it’s really exciting to
see this half a million jobs that have always been working
in downtown LA, you’re starting to see more people take notice
and want to live in downtown LA and that population growing. And I think as we see more
heads and beds, you’re going to see the potential
for what downtown was at the turn of the 20th century. I think we’re going to
see the new chapter, and I think we’re going to
see history repeat itself. And I think that, you
know, Chris’ project, which I get to go to
work in every day, and it’s truly a modern
marvel, the Wilshire Grand. And I suggest every one of you get the chance
to go and visit it. It really is a testament of
what’s happening in downtown LA. And I think that
there is the potential for new projects like that. And there’s the potential
to take older projects like the Ford Motor
Factory and repurpose. So back to the conversation
of industrial-base. So this is kind of a
map showing what happens in most of the projects. And kind of the big
ones to identify here on the map is you’ve got
the Broadway Trade Center. You’ve got the Row,
which we talked about. And then also too,
at the bottom here, we’ve got the Sears Building, which [inaudible] is
developing right now. And so right there alone, you’ve got basically
five million square feet that overnight evaporated
from the industrial market. And so it’s just
interesting to see this happen where we’re seeing a shift. And it’s nice to see that these
buildings are getting a second shot at life. Some things that are
changing though that I’ve seen when I’m talking to owners
and developers who are looking to do projects in downtown LA
are some ballot initiatives that have passed
recently and some things that are on the horizon. So you’ve got measure
JJJ, which in my world, in the Arts District, the
Arts District is zoned M-3, which just means it’s an
industrial neighborhood and means that you can
only do by right 1 1/2 to 1 FAR, full area ratio. So, for every 100,000
square feet of land, you can only build 150,000
square feet of building. And so we’ve seen in the Arts
District some projects getting passed, some people call it
spot zoning, which has occurred. And you’ve seen projects where
they’re getting entitled. Zoning changes to
where they’re allowed to do 3 to 1, 4 1/2 to 1. Measure JJJ, since it’s passed, now requires any
residential projects to provide a certain percentage
of affordable, but also too, now mandates that you use
union labor for your projects. And so this now has
increased the cost for any residential
projects in neighborhoods like the Arts District where
you require a zoning change, an up-zone to a higher use. So from let’s say an M-3,
which we are, to a C-2, which is what most people
get a zoning change to, there are now mandates, and there’s some requirements
that come with that. And so what it will do
is essentially it’s going to impact a value on land. And so what developers can
pay, it’s now essentially going to have some dramatic impact. Linkage fees have
just passed the end of last year will
also play a role in future projects
for developers. When they’re doing
their underwriting, thinking about the cost that
they will be impacted by, and you’re looking at a range
of $8 to $15 per square foot on a new ground-up project. And it depends on whether it’s
commercial or residential, the higher end of $15 a square
foot is more the residential. The eight is for commercial
like office, mixed use retail, and that sort of project. And so, these are things that
I’m living real time right now with developers and having these
conversations and dialogues with owners, the properties that
we’re in escrow on and saying, when you go to the city, we
have to account for these. And I think that there is
a balance in downtown LA. And I think when you look at
the historical designation, we talk about the context of
downtown LA and how at the turn of the 20th century with all of
the construction that was done, the architecture,
it was special. And I think what we have right
now is this new chapter in time where we need to be
socially conscious about what we’re
doing going forward. And thinking about
preserving the architecture that was done before us. But also going forward, you
know, being somewhat responsible about providing housing,
affordable housing, because I think that’s a
big topic of conversation. And as we move forward through
this, I think you’re going to start seeing what these new
initiatives are doing to sales. So if you look, we’re
actually declining in velocity in the last two years. So if you go back and you look
at the run up of 2013, 2014, 2015, those years were amazing. And I think what you’re
seeing is people looking at, there was measure
S on the horizon. There was measure JJJ. There’s now linkage fees. And then also too, there
was just a wave of, an incredible wave of
development that has happened. And I think people
started to have some doubts about the potential
for oversaturation of certain product types. And so, the great thing
though that I see right now for the future and moving
forward real time is the fact that we’re seeing some
great tenants filling some of these older buildings. So these older buildings that were once industrial
are now getting a second shot of life with new industries. We’ve seen Warner Music
into the Ford Motor Factory. Soylent, Adidas just took space about 50,000 square
feet at the Row. You’ve got Hyperloop’s campus, and they’re continuing
to expand. Tishman Speyer, which I sold
them the campus that they’re in. It’s going to redevelop. USC just leased 25,000 square
feet in the Arts District. Spaces which is [inaudible]
office. And then there’s rumors of
Spotify, Smashbox and Lyft. I mean, that’s a very
impressive caliber of tenants that are looking in downtown LA. And I think that you look
historically at the makeup and the diversity of tenants
in downtown LA, and you look at office space, historically,
you would be seeing financial, legal, insurance, maybe
education and government. And it’s nice to see that
there’s new industries. And then downtown LA, one of
the things that I’m seeing in the Arts District is the
music industry is really making a play in the Arts District. And so, we talk about
the Arts District and the name of the
Arts District. Wouldn’t it be incredible to see the music industry
actually come back downtown and be in a Warner
Music and Spotify? Spotify is looking to
potentially taking, I don’t know if you guys pay attention
what’s in the news, but Spotify is talking
about taking about a 110,000 square
feet at At Mateo. And again, these rents
that we’re talking about are game changing. We’re talking about
going from 50 cents of this industrial
space I sold At Mateo. They were getting about
50 to 60 cents gross from the tenants
that were in there. Mainly warehouse,
garment-related companies. Spotify is looking to
play north of 350 net. So, again, I think that there
is definitely a new chapter for downtown LA. Again, these are kind
of the asking rents. I can move through these stats. This is now kind of
the competitive set for creative office
and the Arts District. And some of these projects Kevin
pointed out, you’ve got 6AM. You’ve got 670 Mesquit,
which are proposed projects. But there’s some projects
that are existing today, Fourth and Traction at Mateo,
the Maxwell Coffee Building, all of these buildings
are getting activity and tractional tenants. And so I think that
that’s exciting, and I think that we’re going to see this neighborhood
continue to blossom. And hopefully, we’re going to see some more residential
come online as well. I believe, and this may be
a controversial comment, but I think that there
needs to be a balance. And I think that if we’re
going to see downtown continue to propel on this
trajectory that we’ve seen, there needs to be more
people living in downtown LA. I think that a half a million
people working in downtown and only 65,000, there’s a
delta there which developers, a lot of residential developers,
see as an opportunity when you compare this to
other major cities in the US. I think that what we’re probably
going to see here is a lot of developers that I talk to
in other cities, they believe that there’s the potential to double the current inventory
that’s on the books right now for residential and with
the half a million jobs that it would be absorbed. And so, hopefully, you know,
we can work together privately, publicly and find ways to get
more projects out of the ground, like Chris was successful
at Wilshire Grand. And I think that, that, I
think, is a great statement of I think what’s the next
chapter in downtown LA. Where I see the future going. This is one concern and
roadblock that I do see. And Carol brought it up earlier. It’s something that
I’m constantly talking to the owners about. And it’s a very complex, it’s
a very challenging issue. And I don’t think we can solve
it just talking about it today, but I think it’s something
that will need to be addressed in order for the city to
continue on its trajectory. Another thing that amazes
me, you know, being the fact that I was in downtown LA
for as long as I’ve been and just watching this moment
in time that I’ve been involved in where I drive around
now, ad I kind of keep tabs on who I see in the
neighborhood. And before it was young
professionals jogging. That was my thing. I would want to see young
professionals jogging in downtown LA when I’m
driving to work in the morning or when I’m driving
home at night. The latest thing that
I’ve seen are strollers and babies in strollers. And that’s the thing that
I’m always keeping an eye on and tabs on because I think
that that’s the next thing that downtown needs to address. If it’s going to
be a great city, I think there needs
to be more education. And I’m not talking
about higher education. I’m talking about
elementary schools. I’m talking about middle
schools, public and private. I think there needs to be more
options if more people are going to start living in downtown LA. You look at the demographics,
you’re talking about young professionals
and empty nesters. But once people start
getting married, start having children,
they move out. And I want to see downtown
keep some of that population and see true downtowners
thrive for decades and actually raise
children in downtown LA. And I think that that and the
homeless issues are things that will need to be
addressed in order for downtown to take that next great step. And so that’s basically
all my thoughts. Thank you. I appreciate your time. [ Applause ]>>John Gerro, Esq.: That
was quite an eyeopener. Thank you very much. That’s quite a transition. And if I could ask you, Brandon,
from your microphone there. Kevin earlier said that
you were in the red zone, which means that you
didn’t have a lot of transportation built in. Where do you see
that, just quickly, where do you see transportation
and the Arts District?>>Brandon Gill: Well,
it’s interesting. So we talk about the
marketability of projects. And so the Ford Motor Factory,
which I showed earlier, they, part of their project, built
a 700-car parking structure. And they were able to
lease that project. And I think that marketability
for parking right now in today’s current situation,
I think with the limited amount of residential, you
need to provide parking. And I think ideally, you’re providing a
minimum of three to one. I hope that you’re
going to see extensions of maybe the purple line
in the Arts District. They talk about the West
Santa Ana extension, which I think will be great. But I think that those
are probably a decade out. And so for being
competitive in today’s market and for providing
parking is key. And parking is a real
challenge that I see with a lot of projects, and especially
the Historic Court. The Arts District, I think,
is benefited from the fact that a lot of these developers
had the foresight to plan ahead and solve for the parking
as part of their projects.>>John Gerro, Esq.: Thank you. Quick question for Wayne. Where do you see
the future of brick and mortar stores in
the downtown area?>>Wayne Ratkovich: Yeah, thank
you for a very easy question. You know, the jury is still
out on what is going to happen. Nobody has got a crystal ball. But I do think that
the expectations and the views are sort of
coming together that retail and urban markets is going to be
food, entertainment, experience. So it’s going to, the brick and mortar stores will probably
have to fit that profile.>>John Gerro, Esq.: Thank you. Chris, where do you
see the future of office space given the fact
that we’ve got virtual office and other things that are
now technologically taking over other than a
chair and a desk?>>Christopher C. Martin:
That’s a really good question, almost as easy as the
one that Wayne just had. The changing office
space is traumatic because of technology
changes, communication changes. So the average, we used to say, five people per thousand
was tight. That’s 200 square
feet per person. But we can see some office space
where it’s getting down to 140 because of, it becomes a
cubical, open air, no walls. Everybody’s plugged into their
technical systems ad Wi-Fi. But they’re also
working from home. They’re working odd hours. And they’re telecommuting
maybe one day. So that says the demand for office space is
falling for per company. But one of the terrible
problems we have in LA, and it’s probably what’s
driving that drop in value in Carol’s talk where she said
the cost per square foot is dropping for office space is because headquarters
don’t want to be here. And that is because of a
thing called gross revenue receipt tax. Which the city of Los
Angeles levies on businesses that are headquartered
here, or any business. And it should be removed. It’s discouraging, if you’re
a multinational company that does $10 billion a year
of volume, why do you want to give $100 million to
the city of Los Angeles because your headquarters
is located here. It doesn’t make any sense. So they all left. And in the early 90s, we
counted up the Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies that
had headquarters here left. Well those take high-paying
jobs. So it’s pennywise pound
foolish in my observation. And most economists
would agree with that, that the gross revenue receipt
tax drives away the high-value companies that have
high-paying jobs.>>John Gerro, Esq.: It does. Thank you very much. That’s a great observation. Kevin, do you think that there’s
an oversupply of apartments and condos, and where do you
see the future on that topic?>>Kevin Keller: You know,
from a planning point of view, we really have a long-term
look at the market. I know sometimes it’s
a little bit easy to say we’re just
looking long term. I don’t need to deal with the
current because I think a lot of regulations that we
talked about are really real. New fees, new fee structures,
citizen ballot initiatives. They do affect transactions
here. But long term, we do see a lot of opportunities
for growth downtown. I think, to some
extent, also having a lot of supply helps keep
those rents level. And there’s been a lot of talk
about the downtown example as being a good impetus
of supply and demand where there is a lot of
supply comes on the market. The rent’s kind of
cool, or ease, and then the residential
rents start creeping up again to have more come on the market. We certainly have a lot under
construction at the moment. And I think it’ll be interesting
to see how that lease is up. I think the same question
that Wayne mentioned at the beginning is also the
role of foreign capital and some of the for sale housing to
see how that also is sold. A lot of the larger
projects are being financed. And these are projects we
wanted to see for a long time. For now, they could
become frenzy-oriented. I don’t know what
the word would be, but will these be local buyers? Will these really be buying,
held by foreign buyers. You know, we don’t
have a comment on that, but I’d be interested to see if that drives production
a different way.>>John Gerro, Esq.: Thank you. Do we have any questions
from the audience? Does anyone have any
thoughts or any questions?>>Right here.>>Can I ask a question? I actually am working
on my dissertation on [inaudible] right now. I work with the city of Los Angeles [inaudible]
in the department. And I was very happy to hear
you say that there needs to be a balance between, you
know, from buying a house and dealing with
this homeless issue. And then the development
as well. So my question to you
is, as a researcher, I’m looking at collaborative
networks. And how collaborative
works with development. In other words, my housing
department technically [inaudible] work with
the renters, right. And that’s kind of what
we’ve been told who we are. So there really isn’t,
and I want to ask you, how do you collaborate? Are you collaborating
with government, with the actual homelessness
people, with people who can’t
afford the rent set for the new developments
that you’re creating now?>>City planning. Everyone should be a
planner in my mind. But city planning, you get to
work a lot on different things and kind of do exactly
what you’re talking about, collaborating. So, the planning
department works on the transportation plans with the Department
of Transportation. The planning department
works on some of our affordable housing
programs with the Department of Housing and Community
Investment. We also work on some of our park
funding initiatives and location with the Department
of Recreation and Parks in the city. So, whereas we don’t, you
know, take responsibility for everything that’s
constructed, it is one of the few
organizations in the city that helps kind of go across
divisions and really work. And I think that’s something that the city has not
invested as much in the past. But that’s really changing. I think in terms of housing,
you know, we do adhere to the supply and demand. Like more supply is necessary,
but it’s also very important to make sure that
when there are, and it has to be done carefully, but when there are zoning
considerations or incentives, that we really aren’t
incentivizing mixed income housing. So for example, and there
was a, I think we all agree, a positive thing out of JJJ. There was a new program that
the city planning department released called the
Transit-Oriented Communities’ Program whereas if you’d
like, it’s incentive-based. It’s not, I think that
we could also talk about incentive-bases
versus regulations. It’s an incentive-based
program where if you locate next to transit and you put a
percentage of your units aside as either extremely low
income or low income, that’s a whole separate debate
about do you really have that housing towards
extremely low, which is more in the homeless, social
security or low or very low, and we could talk about that. But we do have a program
where if you do that, we provide some more floor
area or more density bonus or reduced parking
to that project that can then hopefully help
pay for that difference. Sometimes the city
gets it right. Sometimes we don’t get it right. And I think on planning, you
can kind of write a regulation, put it out there, and
then you have to see in the real world what happens. Some of our programs,
like perhaps in Chinatown, the Cornfield [inaudible] plan
has not seen a lot of activity. There could be a lot of reasons. People have said one reason is
maybe we put the incentives too low and the requirements
to high. But on this transit-oriented
community plan, which was an outcome
of measure JJJ, it’s in effect for ten years. We released that
program in September. We’ve already seen 32 projects
proposed, probably delivering over 400 affordable units
and maybe 3,000 marker units. So that’s 400 units that
were free and clear. Did not require any
other subsidy. Really helps keep those
monies available for things like you’re talking about. Maybe homeless service or
permanent support of housing. We’re also working
on an ordinance, a permanent supportive
housing, which is one of the models, homelessness. And there’s a lot
of models out there. I’m not an expert
on all the models. But along the idea
of removing barriers where right now we
require hearings. We require environmental
analysis. Those can be oftentimes used for
good things and often opposition to projects that have
externalities to it. So one of the proposals is to
really remove some procedures and let those go quicker
through our planning process. So, it’s something. It’s out there. It’s a very valid topic. And I think it’s come
up throughout the day. But we do want to have private
development do its fair share, but recognize that, you know, it probably can’t solve
all of our problems. That’s where I think there’s
that continued dialogue.>>John Gerro, Esq.: Any
further questions from anyone? We have Jessica Lall
who’s going to be from the Central City
Association speaking during lunch. We’re going to continue our
topic here during lunchtime. And at this time, I want
to thank Wayne, Chris, Kevin and Brandon for
such an enlightening and professional discussion
on this topic this morning. Thank you, gentlemen. [ Applause ] And my special thanks
to Carol Schatz for her morning presentation
and so forth. And we look forward
to a nice lunch and the further topics
for one more hour. Thank you very much. [ Applause ]>>Jessica Lall: Hello everyone. Good afternoon. I want to thank Cal State LA
and John and Denise and the Dean for having us here today. It’s really exciting to see
so many people interested in downtown LA that
they’re willing to spend their Saturday
here listening to some incredible speakers
about the renaissance, revitalization and
really where we’re going. And I’m excited to be here. I know you’ve heard a lot
earlier today about the past and how we’ve gotten to
the point we are today. And I’m going to talk briefly
about some of the things that are underway
and the projects that we’re advocating
for through CCA. Just a quick note to add on
to what John said about CCA. We are a membership-based
organization. We’ve been around
for over 93 years. Started as the Downtown
Businessman’s Group, so we’ve come a long way. And we really focus our
efforts in five priority areas. The first being housing,
housing in all income levels. Homelessness, which I
know has been mentioned, and we can’t really as
a community and really as a region get away from. Livability. I think this was referenced
in the earlier panel, looking at things that really
create a quality community that’s livable and sustainable
for people of all ages. So that refers to schools and
parks and things of that nature. Job creation and retention. We have about a half a
million jobs in downtown LA and are doing what we can
to spur more job growth. Again, that was something
that we talked about earlier. As well as, excuse me, I’m
dropping my papers, mobility. So really looking at transit
and the last mile of transit, getting people around
efficiently and safely. So with that, John
mentioned the mission of CCA. I’m excited to talk to you
about, we have about 400 members that represent roughly
350,000 employees across the city and the county. So a lot of the issues
that we touch, we approach through
the urban lens but definitely have
regional impact in terms of what we are looking at. So with that, I’m
sorry, here we go. Downtown LA lately has been
called the most colorful neighborhood by Forbes
in April of 2017. And I can really
speak firsthand. It was mentioned
I’m a proud Trojan. I actually moved here from
Texas to go to school. And everyone thought I was
crazy moving to downtown LA. Thought that it was unsafe
and didn’t really have much to offer as a community. And I can say when I
was a student there, there was definitely no
going out in downtown LA. You’d maybe at that point
go to the Hotel Fig, which actually has just
been opened and remodeled. And the Golden Gopher and Broadway Bar were
the only two places when I was a senior
that we’d go. So we’d hire buses on the
weekends to take us elsewhere. When our parents would come
visit, they would have to say in Century City, you know, somewhere maybe along
the westside because there weren’t
quality hotels available to them at that point. Or it just wasn’t seen
as a place to stay and be able to interact. Just a few years later, I, a couple of years ago
I actually got married. My husband is here today. Shout out to Luke. And thank you. And we actually got
married downtown. It was really special, and I
had a lot of friends that moved from California over
to the East Coast who when they received the
invitation were a little startled that the
wedding would be downtown. They had young kids,
and they didn’t think that was a place they were
really going to be able to experience outside
of the wedding ceremony. And I can tell you we had people
from all around the world come. And people were floored by the
progress that had been made, being able to go to things
like Grand Central Market, The Broad Museum, having
access to quality transit. And it was a great
moment because not that much time has passed. So as we looked to this
renaissance revitalization, we can quickly just take note
of all the many communities within the downtown LA area. And I know you guys all heard
from Carol who used to run CCA and runs one of the nine
business improvement districts. Downtown Los Angeles is
really a city within a city. We have a tapestry of
unique neighborhoods. Many don’t know there are nine
business improvement districts that represent really
unique parts of downtown. You have Little Tokyo, which is
one of only six Little Tokyos across the United State. We have the Historic Core
which is home to many of the beautiful
old bank buildings that have been converted into
amazing presidential units. We have the Arts District, which
I know everyone’s heard of that, is on fire right now in terms of the incredible development
that’s taking place. Chinatown is one of the most
recognized Chinatowns abroad, for all of the many
assets that it has. And South Park where I was for
four years, is really the home, not just of the entertainment
industry, I’m sorry the entertainment
facilities like Staples Center, LA Live, the Convention Center. It’s actually where most of the residential development
is taking place today. So there’s a lot happening. There’s a lot to access
when you come downtown. And what most people also don’t
know is downtown LA represents 1% of the city’s land
but has accounted for 20% of the city’s growth. And I think I’m going to talk
more about the opportunities that exist today and
expand upon them. Prior to 2000, we had less than
8,000 people living in downtown. Today, we see about that number
approaching close to 70,000. And get this, by 2040,
we’re expected to hit over 200,000 residents in
downtown Los Angeles alone. And some say that’s
a low estimate, and I think really it depends
on our ability to be able to increase and bolster
not just housing production but really the amenities,
schools and parks and things of that nature that are going
to keep people in our community. So, what other infrastructure
growth is sort of coming online or has come online that is
supporting this rapid pace of growth that we’re seeing? And transit has really been a
key component of the ability for downtown to grow and expand. We truly are the region
center for transit. And when you look at this slide,
you see all of the transit lines that we’re building out
through measure R and measure N and everything that’s
going to be coming online with the extension of the purple
line, the regional connector, which is going to allow people
to travel from the beach into Pasadena taking zero stops. We also are, the My
Figueroa Project, which some of you may have seen,
is under construction currently. And that’s really connecting USC into the core of
the Central City. So there is much more to come. As most of you know, measure M
passed this last time around. Angelinos continue to
invest wholeheartedly in their trans assistance. It’s 120 billion with a B
investment on top of measure R, which was a $40 billion
investment. And we really see downtown
as being the anchor for that transit growth. The other is housing
production and construction. This map will show
you what is currently under construction today. The blue indicates
completed projects, and the red is projects
that are in progress, and green are the propose
projects that Kevin is, with a pen, approving daily
with the planning department. Since 1999, we haven’t actually
seen as much construction in downtown LA since the
1920s, the roaring 20s if you can believe that. So we’re really undergoing
rapid growth. The number of units
actually, residential units, since 1999 has increased
from 12,000 to 38,000. And we currently have
close to 12,000 units under construction currently. Property value, get this, has
actually jumped from 4.8 billion in 1999 to 14.6 billion in 2016. So there is immense opportunity. And again, the policies that are
being put forth and our ability to react and be proactive
in proposing solutions to addressing like affordable
housing are going to be critical in terms of making sure
that we continue to grow and be able to develop. So we all know that our region
is facing a severe housing shortage, and this
very much connects to our homeless crisis
that we see. We truly see housing and
homelessness as interlocked, and there’s no one silver bullet to solve either of
these problems. It requires a multitude
of things and partnerships between the public
and private sector. And organizations like
ours are really delving in full force on this. But we believe that downtown
LA is really positioned to help solve both
of these crises, and what most people
don’t realize is that even though we’ve seen
all these luxury apartments and condos come online, that
most of this development has, we were just talking about this, has been new development
converting parking lots into new housing units. And that affordable housing in downtown LA has
actually increased by 4,000 units since 1999. And I think that’s an
extremely important point for all of us to remember. And as we continue to advocate
for more and different types of housing typologies, looking
at things like micro units. Looking at things like
three-bedroom homes where people can
grow their families. CCA is really doing what we
can to advocate for these types of innovations and
unit typologies that create different
price points in the market and different options for people
as they’re looking to first move as a young student, and then
being able to grow their family and even having, we have a large
senior population that’s growing in downtown LA that we’re
really trying to encourage. I think this has been
mentioned before. We do, while we do have
70,000 people living downtown, we still have about
half a million people who work downtown. So there’s still a lot of
work to be done to resolve that jobs-housing balance. And you know, there’s been
a lot of media buzz lately around the vacancy rate
downtown, and I think, you know, one thing that we’re
really trying to make clear to folks is there’s
a natural adjustment. And people, you know, these
units all coming online at once, the absorption rate that’s going to take just a little
bit of time. I think even in the last
three months we’ve seen that number drop. It will continue to drop. So we do not believe that
downtown LA is being overbuilt. And we’ll happily have that
conversation with anybody. The next, and we sort of alluded
to this in the beginning, is what downtown really needs
to take it to the next level. And we have the housing. We have the transit
infrastructure. But now it’s going to come down,
we go to New York or Chicago, they have great parks and
great access to greenspace. They have great schooling
options. I’m on the board for the first
parent charter elementary school downtown that’s been
five years in the making. It’s been very challenging
to find a permanent facility. We’re already getting
requests about taking, is that school going to be able
to grow into a middle school. And there’s quite a need,
and we have, we’re talking to private schools and
LAUSD about making sure that there’s a variety
of options for parents, recognizing that
that’s a key component to keeping people
in our community. But in addition to that is the
greenspace, the access to parks, the dogs and the strollers, that was referenced
earlier on an earlier panel. We want to continue to make sure
that they have a place to go. So, while we have done a lot to
increase the greenspace options in downtown, there’s still
work that needs to be done. The slide behind me is
showing Graham Park. How many people in the room have
actually been to Graham Park? Yes, it’s amazing. You know, they now host a New
Year’s party which brings people from all across the city. It’s been a great
asset to downtown. The LA State Historic Park,
which just opened here in Chinatown is also I
recommend going there. They really invested
a lot of money and time making it
festival-friendly, a great place for families. Very sustainable. And CCA, you know, the policy
side has been working on things like a park fee ordinance
which talks about, looks up land dedication
decree, quality park [inaudible] for flexibility just given how
expensive land is right now. And some other examples of
things that are underway as it relates to parks is
First and Broadway Park. You can see a little
snapshot here. We also know that the LA River
is a big priority for our mayor and Los Angeles and really
has a broad base coalition to transform this 19 miles
of the river that connects from Vernon to Long Beach. There are more than 140
enhancement projects planned along the LA River, and it
really is an opportunity to increase equity to
families across our cities. So we’re very much
supportive of that project. And then we have innovation
when it comes to park ideas. This is, as you can see,
one of our many freeways. We love our concrete
freeways in Los Angeles. This is the Park 101 before,
and what they’re looking to do is actually reimagine
this landscape to do something, float more along the
lines of this slide. Which would actually connect
City Hall to Chinatown with really beautiful greening
and amenities for the public. Sorry. The other thing,
switching gears a little bit, that we have downtown, Los
Angeles is actually home to more arts and
cultural institutions than any other place
in the United States, including New York City. A lot of people don’t know that. Downtown LA is really the
center for that creativity and these institutions. The Broad, for example, I’m
sure there’s not a person here who hasn’t heard
about the success of the Broad Museum downtown. Actually, in its first year blew out of the water
their expectations. They had 820,000 close to a million visitors
in the first year. And what’s even more impressive
is that the average age of the people going
to The Broad is 32. So what that means is
it’s really creating and making art accessible
and interesting to a younger population
and people. I drive by it, you know,
pretty much every day. And there’s never not a line
of people happily waiting, you know, in the
heat or the sunshine, you know, waiting to get in. And it’s done a lot to really
put the arts and culture scene on the map in Los Angeles. But we also have, you
know, the Music Center, the Walt Disney Concert Hall,
MOCA, the Grammy Museum. The Lucas Museum, which we want,
which will be down at Expo Park. And we, you know, Expo Park
is also on fire right now. And who could forget
the Museum of Ice Cream, which was a huge
success downtown. The other incredible asset that we have downtown
is the talent pool. We have a phenomenal Cal State
LA campus in downtown LA. Great resource for
the community. We have leading, you know,
educational facilities, USC, LA Trade Tech, LMU, SCI-Arc,
Loyola, all in our backyard. And it’s really our goal as
an organization to harness that human capital and that
creative capital that’s being developed in these universities
and schools to make sure that we’re keeping
them in our community. We’re making sure that they
know how to grow a business, how to grow and expand and
not feel like they need to leave the central city
in order to be successful. But like I mentioned, our
challenge and something that we’re continuing to
work on are the, you know, things like daycare
and schooling options for people coming
into the pipeline. And then LA and downtown
is also home to some of the best sports
facilities and teams. As everyone here heard earlier,
Staples Center opened in 1999, key moment for downtown, key
anchor facility for downtown. But since then, things
have really taken off. We have the Bank of America
Stadium down at Expo Park, which will be home to
the LA Football Club, World Class Stadium,
currently under construction. If you haven’t seen it, it’s absolutely incredible
to drive by. Because of it, LA has
been able to currently bid on the World Cup for
2026, which will be in play two years
before the Olympics. Come down a great
opportunity for our city. In addition, the LA Memorial
Coliseum was also just renamed the United Airlines
Memorial Coliseum and will include a $270 million
renovation of the LA Coliseum, really bringing it
into modern time. Again, making sure that that
whole Expo campus has dynamic and has a facility
to serve any needs. And all of this brings us to
what a lot of people are excited about is the LA 2028 Olympics. And the reason we’re excited
about the Olympics is not just, you know, to be on the
world stage for two weeks. Many of us are watching
the Korean Olympics now. But it’s really because it gives
us an opportunity to gear focus and get people excited and
thinking ahead for the future in a real coordinated way, in a way that really
sustains far beyond the Olympics themselves. And this, downtown
is actually going to house more Olympic
venues than any other part in the region, and we really
are using that as an opportunity to harness energy, creativity
and really problem solve around some of our
larger issues. And tourism is a huge
driver of the LA economy. And we had 48 million
visitors come through Los Angles last year,
you know, LAX, I don’t know of anyone’s been recently, is undergoing a $14 billion
makeover, and it’s really the, downtown’s really become
a central component. It’s not just Hollywood or Santa
Monica anymore where people want to come visit for the reasons
I’ve already touched on. Our Convention Center is also,
fingers crossed, the beginning of significant makeover
in the coming years to really propel
that kind of tourism. An interesting fact,
national tourism to the United States is actually
down 6.6% this last year due to other factors beyond
our control nationally. But Los Angeles’ tourism
was actually up 2.2%. And I think there’s a lot to
be said for that and, you know, credit to everyone in this
room for doing what we can to really continue to make sure
our city is an inviting place, a place where people
want to come. They feel welcome. The LA Tourism Board is
doing a, has a real sort of international campaign
about LA’s open and welcome for business and visitors
from people around the world. We want to make sure that we do
our part to continue to capture that spirt and that energy. Not just because it’s
the right thing to do but because it’s also
a tremendous asset for our economy. So, covered a lot of ground. The one thing I don’t
necessarily have a slide on, but I want to touch on,
is the homelessness issue, just because I would be
remiss to not mention it. You know, having sort of
been in this line of work for several years, I can say, there’s never been more
coordination, consolidation of resources and efforts. Silos are being shattered
in terms of the groups working together. The city and county business
organizations, nonprofit groups, CCAs building, the issue that I
spend more of my time on by far than any, working on identifying
sites to get people housed. The two bonds that just
passed, proposition H and measure H are going to
do tremendous work in terms of helping us build
housing with services. We also need interim
temporary shelters to get people off the
sidewalks immediately. Each day that passes, you know,
another woman, another child, another person is suffering. And so I want to just
communicate to you that we are a part
of that solution. The business community is an
active participant in terms of bringing resources
to the table. We have a meeting this
upcoming Monday with one of the largest real estate firms
in the country, and, you know, about 10 to 15 service providers and affordable housing
developers to talk about how we can actually not
do this 20 units at a time but to do this on
a massive scale. And what that will require,
and I want to end on this, is everyone of us
accepting units and housing in our community. I’m probably preaching
to the choir here, but with every project that gets
stalled or delayed, that equates to people living on our
street and sidewalk. And it’s a moral imperative. And we all, the council,
City Council, just passed a resolution
this last week 222, and that’s calling on every city
council district in Los Angeles to accept 222 permanent
supported housing units in their community by
within the next three years. I think if we all lock arms and
welcome these types of projects into our neighborhoods, we’re going to see a
massive improvement in the overall quality of
life for all Angelinos. So I’ll stop there. Thank you so much for
having again today and for your interest and
commitment in downtown LA. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>John Gerro, Esq.: I
want to thank you, Jessica. That was very enlightening,
a really good display for anyone interested in
coming to LA to invest or do anything like that. You mentioned transportation. You mentioned the homeless. With new developments now,
is there a linkage fee, and would that be, what
kind of impact would that be on new developments.>>Jessica Lall: Sure.>>John Gerro, Esq.: And
maybe explain what that is.>>Jessica Lall: Sure, the linkage fee I think Brandon
touched on it in his slide in his presentation, is basically an additional
fee placed on new development, residential and commercial,
different price points. This was, this came out of the
Mayor’s office in the spirit of trying to create
a new funding source to build affordable housing, recognizing that we have far
underbuilt in our communities, and cities like San Francisco
have had a linkage fee. It was a tough issue for us
as an organization candidly. We know that we need
affordable housing. We also know that the struggle
for real estate developers to be hit with fee after fee. And what that actually
does potentially to make housing expensive. So, CCA, we were very involved
with that, and we looked at ways to support the fee
with things like adding in a sloping [inaudible]
for example. So allows time for
property values to adjust. There is a tool that downtown
developers are able to use to purchase additional density, to build basically
higher buildings. And so what we did
was we allocated that that new density would
not also be taxed or hit with the linkage fee as well. I shouldn’t say the word tax. Would be hit with the
linkage fee as well. So it encourages people
to still build more units but not essentially having
to pay double for that. Measure JJJ was also listed as
a potential impediment for sure in terms of building
and making the cost of building more expensive. CCA advocated and worked
very closely with the city and our partners at the city on transit-oriented
community guidelines, which would essentially
encourage development around transit lines and
transit-oriented development and mitigate those fees as well. So, it’s a tough
balance to strike. And candidly, I mean, I
think there’s no one policy or one fee. The other thing we’ve
been working closely with the Mayor’s
office on is making sure that affordable housing
trust fund has essentially, comes as a result of the linkage
fee dollars, really thinking about how that money
is spent thoughtfully. Bringing in the real estate
community to make sure that. You know, a lot of these ideas,
they’re well-intended, but, you know, there are practical
matters that developers face when they are, you know, trying
to go through that process. So our goal is to help
bridge that gap and come up with reasonable
solutions that continue to boost housing production but
also help us get to our housing, affordable housing needs.>>John Gerro, Esq.:
One more question. Thank you. I was thinking this
morning about the building, about the number of
housing units that we have, and have you done any studies
on the affordability issue to bring more people to the
Los Angeles area in light of the overall economy. Because we may have tough
times in the future. And trades may go out, the economy may suffer
a slight recession. There may be other
factors involved. I know that you forecast
into the future. So, on affordability, is
there any thoughts on that?>>Jessica Lall: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Thank you for asking this,
it’s an important question. And I think we, when
we say affordable, there’s the technical
definition of what qualifies as affordable housing, and then
there’s just hey, you know, I’m a student or I’m working two
jobs, and I still can’t afford to live anywhere
near where I work. Or my children are not going to
be able to afford to live here. So we’re trying to address
the entire spectrum, which as old endeavor. But basically, if you earn
between 20 and $200,000 in the city of Los Angeles, there’s really nowhere
for you to live. And that’s completely
unacceptable. And we are approaching this
from many different platforms. And one is to really
diversify the housing types that are allowed to
be built downtown. So two things that we’re looking at are first microunits,
which I alluded to. Microunits are very small units. This has been done very
successful in Sacramento, I’m sorry, in Seattle
and New York. Basically what our
research has shown us is that the units themselves yield
a higher price per square foot for the developer, but
they’re significantly cheaper for the resident, the
person living there. So it’s a win-win
for both sides. So CCA is actually going to be
having, I’ll put it out there for anyone who’s
interested, an event. We have a white paper that
we worked on, March 6th, to bring together real
estate developers, the Planning Department
and the Council Office. And the Mayor’s team
will be there to talk about how we can do
this in downtown. The great thing about
downtown is we’re ripe for pilot projects and ideas. And this is one thing with
the TOC guidelines passing and the elimination of parking
requirements in certain areas, we really think we can start
on, in terms of microunits. The other thing that
we’re looking at building code
efficiency standards. So, for example, I mention
that most of the large pieces of land have been
developed or are in the process of
being developed. So when we look at the
little smaller size and building taller, skinnier
buildings like you see in other cities, one of the
challenges that we face really in California are that we have
requirements, for example, that require elevators to be
30 feet apart from one another. So we’ve been working
very diligently over the last eight months
with the fire department and the building and
safety department to look at actually amending the
building code to allow for taller, skinnier
buildings to be built. And again, this is all
speaking to affordability. Because if we can not only
build different sizes and types of housing, but if we
also make it les expensive to build it will be more
affordable in the long term. So we’re approaching it, those are just two
things that we’re doing. But it’s a huge focus
of ours for sure.>>John Gerro, Esq.: Great. I’ll forget the other 42
questions that I have. Thank you, Jessica. It was wonderful. [ Applause ] Thank you for dessert, and
there’s treat bags on the way out and coffee and so forth. Thank you for attending. We had a wonderful day. [ Applause ]

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