GLENDALE, CA— The conversion of the iconic Masonic Temple in Glendale, CA into a state-of-the-art office is symbolic of both the evolution of a market into a 24-7 live-work-play area and the acceleration of workplace strategy at a Fortune 500 company. The nine-story Masonic Temple on Brand Boulevard is a free-addressing, paperless and collaborative environment for its tenant, CBRE Group Inc., and the 120 employees that have moved in so far. The space features a stadium-seating assembly area in the vaulted cathedral-trussed penthouse. Exposed concrete, refined woods and structural steel elements are mixed in with recreated Art Deco pendants and modern LED lighting. As the next step in CBRE’s workplace strategy, the building also provides concierge services to employees as part of a hospitality-focused new office concept that is meant to attract and retain the highest-caliber workforce. The renovation and repurposing of the functionally obsolete  87-year-old Art Deco building into a relevant commercial mixed-use space, including restaurants and adjacent ground-level retail, isn’t just furthering CBRE’s emphasis on its employees. It also serves as an economic engine to the local neighborhood. This transformation is emblematic of what is taking place in other areas across the US that are turning from sleepy towns into around-the-clock commercial centers. Brand Boulevard has historically been occupied by more traditional Class-A high-rise office buildings, many of which shutter at the end of the day. Yet in the last few years, high-end residential developments—there are more than 3,000 units planned or underway—and relevant retail (The Americana at Brand across the street) have attracted well-known creative office tenants to the area. Avery Dennison in 2014 moved from Pasadena to Glendale and Whole Foods relocated its regional headquarters to the city from Sherman Oaks in 2013, both into high-ceiling, polished concrete-floor creative space. Additionally, at least three hotel projects are planned in downtown Glendale. The city’s office market has benefitted from this piqued interest. Office vacancies in the fourth quarter dropped to 13.3 percent from 15.2% in the first quarter while asking lease rates climbed $0.10 to $2.52 per square foot. “Our emphasis over the last several years on creating an environment that is focused on work in the afternoon and play in the evening and well into the night has led to a renaissance in downtown Glendale,” said Scott Ochoa , Glendale city manager. “We have hundreds of millions of dollars of private money going into mixed-use, apartments and adaptive reuse projects such as the Masonic Temple. It’s emblematic of the Glendale story.” For developer Caruso Affiliated as well as for CBRE, the Masonic Temple will serve as a case study and a showcase for clients and colleagues from other regions. The conversion of this functionally obsolete building into a commercially viable workplace environment is helping to create a connected pedestrian downtown for Glendale and will be an example to other towns across Southern California and nationwide. Go to the intersection of Brand and Harvard any evening of the week and you’ll see hundreds of people walking the sidewalks and filling the restaurants. Visionary projects like the Masonic Temple are vital to this kind live-work-play evolution. Kevin Duffy is an SVP at CBRE, Inc. The views expressed are the author’s own. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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