The Sepulveda Center has 12 stories and around a 90% occupancy.

LOS ANGELES—US International Media has expanded its current lease in the Sepulveda Center by 30%. With the new lease, the media company now occupies 18,366 square feet on the eighth and a portion of the seventh floor of the 12-story office tower.

“The new space provides added efficiency and design improvements consistent with today’s workplace standards,” says David Kluth, an executive managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who represented the tenant along with his NGKF colleague, senior managing director Ryan Harding. USIM will create a new client reception area and workplace layout in the new space. Additionally, the augmented space earns the media company a prominent signage spot on the building exterior.

CBRE SVP Stan Gerlach represented the landlord, KBS Realty Advisors, which has invested $2 to $3 million of capital into building renovations over the past five years. The renovations include new lobby areas, high-tech amenities and air conditioning units. “This is a nice quality building and is relatively inexpensive compared to other similar buildings in Santa Monica,” Gerlach tells GlobeSt.com. “People are finding value in that and are choosing to be in a really high-quality building that is just a little bit further east.” The building currently has about a 10% vacancy, but Gerlach says the team is in talks with a few new tenants, which, once signed, will bring them close to full occupancy.

Although USIM was renewing its lease and expanding its square footage, other companies are migrating east to find more affordable options without sacrificing quality. “The tech sector is certainly one of the reasons the market is recovering quickly on the Westside. We have seen tremendous rent growth in Downtown Santa Monica. In buildings like 100 Wilshire, rates have gone from $4.50 to as high as $6.35,” Gerlach explains, adding that while some companies are being driven south to the Playa Vista area, others are heading east. He notes recent lease transactions he completed with IBISWorld for a full floor at 11755 Wilshire Blvd., moving from 401 Wilshire Blvd.;and, the Palisades Group, which moved out of 233 Wilshire to a Brentwood Building. “Now that rents are going up so high in Santa Monica, we are seeing people leaving and looking for value,” says Gerlach.

USIM also looked for an alternative location, according to Kluth, but chose to stay due to the building’s central location and close proximity to freeways. Market reports from Industry Partners, experts in the creative office market, confirm that the creative and tech industries are really driving this growth. Last year, a report announced that, for the first time since the recession, office vacancy rates dropped below 11%.