Union Bank Plaza’s owner had reason to celebrate this month. The building was the first skyscraper to become a historical landmark and it wrapped the first phase of a $20 million renovation.
The owners, KBS, are coordinating the project. The historic landmark destination was suggested by the Los Angeles Conservancy.
Built in 1967, Union Bank Plaza has been an iconic part of the Downtown skyline with its 701,888-square-foot, 40-story, office tower and retail plaza. With Union Bank Plaza’s renovation, it is redefining the Downtown skyline. Recently, Union Bank Plaza was designated the first skyscraper in Los Angeles to become a historical landmark.
The renovation has two phases.
In phase one, KBS completed a variety of interior and exterior renovations to the property, high-level finishes in the plaza’s conference center, and a best-in-class lobby.
“This project provides the opportunity for Union Bank Plaza to be seen in a new light while still maintaining the historic characteristics that make it so unique,” said Ginny Walker, public relations and asset manager.
“We made several upgrades to the property that are aligned with the needs of today’s tenants. We also completely preserved the historic original shell of the building as well as the outdoor plaza.”
In phase two, KBS will include an entirely reimagined two-story retail level and a spacious, modern outdoor seating area with fire pits. KBS has also implemented a progressive spec suite program at the property in which it built out tenant suites without a committed tenant. This program kicked off with eight suites totaling more than 21,000 square feet. All of these suites were leased prior to completion. Furthermore, there will be 12 new spec suites totaling over 33,000 square feet.
KBS has also just completed the design of a full-floor law firm layout spec suite. KBS will begin construction on this 18,200-square-foot spec soon. These suites are designed with Downtown Los Angeles’ live-work-play tenants in mind. Therefore, the new environment adds modern outdoor elements to support the restaurant options available to those working in the building.
“The newly added features and spec suite program further advance Union Bank Plaza’s reputation,” Walker said.
“It’s one of the most desirable office buildings in the Downtown Los Angeles market. The completion of this repositioning matches KBS’ strategy of providing first-in-class environments for tenants at all of the assets in which we invest.”
Working alongside KBS is the architecture and design company HLW International.
In this project, HLW International has harnessed the distinguishing features of the modernist era from which Union Bank Plaza hails, and created a timeless design approach, which takes cues from the classic beauty of the building’s original design. HLW International has refreshed the entry lobby’s arrival experience and conferencing center with new interpretations of classic materials such as creamy Carrara marble, rich walnut wood, and matte brass architectural accents. The resulting scheme establishes a contemporary sense of place in the building’s history with a clean, detailed and honest aesthetic.
The Union Bank Plaza renovation is set for completion early next year.
Altogether, “KBS has created an entirely new vibe at Union Bank Plaza,” Walker said. “With the new garden setting, the park-like experience on the plaza level, the fire pits, the indoor and outdoor conference center and new lobby, Union Bank Plaza is definitely one of the most attractive and flexible workspaces in the Downtown Los Angeles marketplace.”