WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA-New York City-based developer Charles S. Cohen has interior design showrooms returning to the Pacific Design Center, thanks in large part to a $45 million repositioning and renovation program at the iconic project at 8687 Melrose Ave. Cohen’s program has targeted prestigious high-end interior design showrooms that once occupied the center but had left for storefront locations elsewhere.

Cohen’s program has attracted 40,000 sf of new tenants, bringing the occupancy to 90% at the 750,000-sf Center Blue building at the design center. The Blue building, known locally as the Blue Whale, opened in 1975 as the first of three buildings to be developed at the West Hollywood project. The Blue building was once filled with showrooms, but occupancy declined in the 1990s before Cohen acquired the building.

The $45 million repositioning budget at the design center also went toward renovations at the 450,000-sf Center Green building, which debuted in 1988. The Center Green building is home to office tenants as well as design firms.

Cohen is under way on the $100 million third building at the 14-acre center, a 400,000-sf Red Building that will be class A office space. The Red Building is expected to be completed by the first quarter 2010.

Among the firms that have moved into the design center are Thomas Lavin and Holly Hunt, who has seven showrooms across the country. Others who have either moved in or are choosing space include a host of showrooms that are moving from locations on trendy avenues such as Robertson, La Brea and Melrose, where design showrooms and high-end furnishings retailers had clustered during the past decade.

In addition to its showroom and office space, the Pacific Design Center features two restaurants created by chef Wolfgang Puck and an outpost of the Museum of Contemporary Art. It is also the home of the SilverScreen Theater, a screening and reception facility that is home to numerous celebrity events.

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