The Historic Core has been a major part of Downtown Los Angeles’ turnaround in the last two decades. Due to the adaptive reuse ordinance aging vacant office buildings have been converted into trendy residential projects and high-tech creative offices, but one of Downtown’s first major office buildings had been left out of the loop. Now a developer that’s been heavily involved in Downtown’s office market is aiming to turn one of the neighborhood’s largest buildings into a destination for businesses.
Developers Rising Realty Partners and Lionstone Investments recently completed rehabilitation and renovation for the Title Insurance and Trust Building at 433 S. Spring St. Rebranded as the Trust Building, the structure holds 340,000 square feet of creative office space across 12 stories.
The developers purchased the building in 2016 for approximately $80 million, poised to become the latest in a series of office properties that Rising Realty Partners has rehabilitated around Downtown. Despite the building, and its area, being largely absent from Downtown’s office boom, Chris Rising, CEO of Rising Realty Partners, said that the Central City has changed in a way that has made the Trust Building once again attractive to tenants, most notably, its proximity to Civic Center destinations.
“The Historic Core has kind of been lost between the Arts District and Financial District as it hasn’t had many office buildings,” Rising said. “But I could see lobbyists and law firms who need to be at the court house or City Hall really liking this location. We’ll have a pick from just about anybody.”
The Art Deco building was originally constructed in 1928 as the headquarters for the Title Insurance and Trust Co. John and Donald Parkinson, the architects behind Los Angeles City Hall, designed the tiered building. It was one of the major office buildings of the time, however as Downtown declined in the 1970s, the building emptied out; for the last 25 years the upper levels have been vacant, used only for filming (the second floor doubled as Gotham’s stock exchange in The Dark Knight Rises). The ground floor remained in use for retail.
Rising declined to give an exact budget for the redevelopment, but said it involved a major overhaul for the building’s aging infrastructure. That included a total seismic retrofit. Many historic elements were preserved, including a mail chute running through each floor, and the refurbished marble lobby. The 10th floor’s wood-paneled executive offices remain as well.
The building’s size and historic elements set it apart from other office conversions, according to Gibran Begum, managing director with the brokerage firm Newmark Knight Frank. He pointed out that it provides an alternative to the central business district on Bunker Hill and the Financial District. However, its lack of immediacy to those business districts could also be a downside to potential businesses, he added. He said that Rising Realty Partners has had success with similar renovations in the past, pointing to their $25 million refurbishment of the PacMutual Building near Pershing Square (they later sold it for $200 million in 2015).