Signing contract

Hello everybody and welcome to Business Briefcase, the newest addition to LA Downtown News! Here, we’ll cover a plethora of topics, including businesses coming into the community, promotions, new hires and new restaurants. If you have something you’d like to see in a future column, email 

Let’s get into the news, shall we?


Major achievement

Behzad Souferian, founder of the Los Angeles-based real estate development firm The Souferian Group, has reimagined a 606-unit residential project in Downtown Los Angeles into a holistic rental community committed to wellness and fun. 

Previously known as The Sofia, one of Los Angeles’ largest multifamily properties — worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars — has been renamed “Be DTLA by The Souferian Group” and is the first apartment building in Southern California to achieve the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Health-Safety Rating.

“Even prior to COVID, my vision has been to provide a first-of-its-kind wellness apartment community that redefines residential living — a centrally located environment that emphasizes healthy minds, bodies, spirits and fun,” Souferian said.  

“The pandemic has only furthered our commitment to establish ourselves as the preeminent wellness-focused community across the industry, and we are thrilled to be the first to successfully achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating in Southern California showcasing our adherence to evidence-based best practices within 15 criteria that instill confidence in our residents that we support their sustained health.”

The WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating designed to empower property owners to prioritize the health and safety of their residents, visitors and staff. Be DTLA achieved the rating through the execution of 15 criteria across five categories: cleaning and sanitization procedures, emergency preparedness programs, health service resources, air and water quality management, and stakeholder engagement and communications.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored how critically important it is to prioritize health and safety in the spaces where we live,” said Jessica Cooper, IWBI chief commercial officer. 

“By achieving the WELL Health-Safety Rating, The Souferian Group and Be DTLA have demonstrated incredible leadership in directly supporting the health, safety and overall well-being of its residents, visitors and staff.”

In addition to the WELL Health-Safety seal, Be DTLA is undergoing a multimillion-dollar revitalization.

While the former community opened merely two years ago, the Be DTLA brand standards will bring innovation and a new-school aesthetic. Prior to the pandemic-era shift away from the office, The Souferian Group was already designing Be DTLA with a suite of leading remote work amenities, including a TikTok creative content studio, podcast recording rooms and a variety of work-from-home studios and lounges, now more relevant than ever. 

With the introduction of Be DTLA, The Souferian Group is re-envisioning the multifamily industry, raising today’s renter’s expectations with an all-encompassing collection of social, wellness and lifestyle offerings and a highly cohesive design ethos. 

Be DTLA residents enjoy two expansive roof tops with 360-degree views of Los Angeles, large apartments with functional floorplans, multiple outdoor courtyards, a top-of-the-line gym, yoga studio and complimentary classes. 

It offers studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 489 to 1,385 square feet. Be DTLA residential leasing prices start from $1,775/month. 

The community offers contactless self-guided tours, a dedicated concierge staff with convenient no-contact communication and is professionally managed by the country’s’ leading institutional property management company. Be DTLA is on the west end of Downtown at 1120 W. Sixth Street, within close proximity to Los Angeles’ entertainment hub, comprised of LA Live; Staples Center; The Nokia Theater; and a plethora of world-class dining, shopping and cultural institutions. With a Walk Score of 95 and a transit score of 100, the centralized location provides easy access to explore Downtown as well as the Greater Los Angeles Area.



Central City Association expands board

Central City Association has new executive officers of its board of directors and four new board members. 

The board of directors represents diverse industries and uses its expertise to help execute CCA’s mission to enhance the vibrancy of Downtown Los Angeles and increase investment in the region.

In 2020, the executive officers helped guide CCA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout. They played a key role in advising the organization as it engaged on DTLA 2040, the Community Plan that will guide Downtown’s growth and development for the next 20 years. 

The 2021 executive officers will continue these efforts and are:


• Chairwoman: Stephanie Graves, president and chief executive officer, Lee Andrews Group.

• Vice Chairman: Bert Dezzutti, executive vice president, Western region, Brookfield Office Properties.

• Secretary: Cindy Starrett, partner, Latham & Watkins.

• Treasurer: Noel Hyun Minor, president and chief executive officer, The Brooklyn Companies.

• Past Chairman: Tom Gilmore, CEO, Gilmore Associates.

• Board Nomination Committee Chairwoman: Lupita Sanchez Cornejo, regional director, external and legislative affairs, AT&T.

• PAC Chairman: Edgar Khalatian, partner, Mayer Brown.


CCA also announced four new board members. Each brings a unique perspective to CCA’s advocacy efforts and will help position CCA as the leading visionary on the future of Downtown and Los Angeles. Joining the board are:


Areen Ibranossian, senior vice president, Southern California, Strategies 360.

Rachel Moore, president and chief executive officer, The Music Center.

Chris Pearson, vice president, development planning, Hudson Pacific Properties.

Carmel Sella, senior vice president, government relations and public policy, Wells Fargo.


“This board reflects Downtown’s diverse stakeholders and industries, and represents CCA’s powerful coalition of member organizations,” Graves said. 

“The board has a deep understanding of DTLA — its opportunities and its challenges. The board is ready to help inform CCA’s efforts to support our city’s full economic recovery from the pandemic, continue to advance proactive housing and homelessness advocacy, further our engagement on the DTLA 2040 Community Plan and much more.”

CCA President and CEO Jessica Lall added, “Our board’s guidance is critical as we continue to navigate tough challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the region and the homelessness and housing crises. 

“We are grateful to our board members for their collaborative approach and commitment to tackling our city’s most pressing issues. We look forward to working closely with our expanded board this year as we advance our shared vision for the future of DTLA.”