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Nick Griffin Nick Griffin is the director of economic development at the DCBID.
The Downtown Los Angeles market is maturing, but it still has room to grow. In its next phase, the Downtown Central Business Improvement District , which has been integral in the market’s expansion, is focusing on the office and retail sectors to support more growth. The office sector, specifically, has struggled to gain momentum in Downtown Los Angeles and to attract creative tenants. We sat down with Nick Griffin , VP of economic development at the DCBID, to talk get specifics about how the organization will be tackling office in the market’s next phase. GlobeSt.com: The Downtown L.A. market has evolved tremendously, but you have said that the renaissance is still in its infancy. What real estate sectors are you focusing on as the renaissance moves into its next phase? Nick Griffin: Right now, we are emphasizing more of the office and retail sectors. In residential, we are absorbing effectively twice or three times what we have ever brought to market before, so residential is going strong, and it doesn’t seem to need a lot of additional support. On the office front, we are really interested in supporting the continued diversification of new companies in the market. GlobeSt.com: How are you planning to help support growth in the office market? Griffin: We have a new initiative that we are launching this month called Hacking the High Rise. Hacking the High Rise is an exploration of how downtown’s class-A towers are reimagining themselves for a new era of city living and for a new generation of office tenants. The first event is going to be focused on Brookfield’s Wells Fargo building, where they have a new Halo project they are building. It focuses as well on their strategic relationship with Convene. It is a great example of how a company like Brookfield is really reimaging a traditional office tower to accommodate a new era of city living and a new generation of more creative tenants. Then, we are producing a video and editorial for the project, and we are going to do events at each one of the showcased properties, which include Commonwealth at City National Plaza, OUE at US Bank Tower, CoreTrust at the CityGroup Building. GlobeSt.com: Why are you focused on growing the creative office sector? Griffin: The initiative is going to focus on creative tenants because we really feel like the upside growth is in the diversification of the industries here. As they diversify, we create a really dynamic ecosystem of companies that are here. In turn, those companies create a really creative environment and they attract the same kind of people that want to live in a dynamic urban setting. That begins to reinforce itself. Griffin: How has office ownership changed this cycle? Griffin: Almost every major office tower has changed hands in the last five to seven years, bringing new capital and new vision to those properties. You had legacy owners before, some of whom were more local, you now have more international players who build cities all over the world and who understand that it takes significant new investment to bring those assets to a new level and into a new era. Every one of those properties has changed hands and has seen a significant injection of new capital. I think that is going to continue.

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