Class-A space is changing. Once simple defined as a top-end building—whether office or multifamily—class-A now requires a lot more than just quality to be competitive. New class-A space in Downtown Los Angeles comes with a full amenity package, outdoor spaces and food-and-beverage services. Owners of existing class-A properties should take note, and will need to upgrade to keep up with the changing market.

“The class-A building type is changing in general. It isn’t luxury; it is necessity. Most of what we would have traditionally called class-A buildings in L.A. have not had any amenities,” Louise Sharp, a principal in HLW’s Los Angeles office, tells “That is the biggest change, and I think that is a general change that is happening as work and the way that people work is changing.”

The shift in class-A quality is relatively new in Los Angeles, beginning with the development activity downtown; however, it is a trend that has been common for years in other urban markets. “L.A. is a unique market unto itself. Until recently, there hasn’t been a lot of new development,” says Sharp. “That is changing a lot now, and that is leaving a lot of high-rise buildings that haven’t had a lot of change in the last 30 years. I think this is a moment in time for L.A. to really rethink what class-A is. The high-rise is really starting to cater to a more diverse population in terms of the types of clients that will be interested in those buildings as well as the changing overall demographic and make up of the downtown area. With more people living there, there are different generations and more younger people, and there is a live-work opportunity that really can happen.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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