In 2019, Warner Music Group (WMG) relocated its Los Angeles-area headquarters from Burbank to the restored Ford Factory in Downtown's Arts District, eschewing traditional media hubs in the San Fernando Valley and the Westside. Now, the record label's former parent company is teaming with one of the country's most prolific developers on a new project next door.
Last month, an entity affiliated with Hines and Access Industries filed an application with the City of Los Angeles to build a mixed-use development at 2045 E. Violet Street - directly south of the Ford Factory. Plans call for the construction of a 13-story edifice containing roughly 450,000 square feet of office space, 17,800 square feet of ground-floor retail, and below- and above-grade parking for 1,264 vehicles.
Rios is designing the new tower, which would stand approximately 217 feet in height. Plans call for a sloping facade of glass, steel, and brick veneer, culminating in a jagged roofline of sawtooth windows that mimics nearby industrial buildings in the Arts District. Plans call for more than 20,000 square feet of open space on the upper floors, which would be available to office tenants, as well as 57,000 square feet of ground-floor open space at ground level connecting to surrounding streets and other parts of the Ford Factory campus.
Requested entitlements - including a general plan amendment and a zone change - would also permit Hines and Access Industries to expand the existing Ford Factory building by upwards of 150,000 square feet. Any new construction would occur towards the southeast corner of the property, located at the intersection of Violet and Santa Fe Avenue. However, an expansion would require a separate entitlement application.
The new construction and proposed expansion, combined with the existing 280,000 square feet of office occupied by WMG, could result in an approximately 850,000-square-foot complex at completion.
The more than 100-year-old Ford Factory, named for the car maker that once built Model T's at 7th and Santa Fe, was restored as offices for rent by San Francisco-based Shorenstein, which signed WMG as the property's anchor tenant in 2016. Three years later, WMG's then parent company Access Industries paid $195 million to buy the property.
The arrival of WMG, as well as Spotify as the neighboring At Mateo campus, has served to raise the Arts District's profile among media and technology firms in the hunt for office space. In the years since, several developers have looked to capitalize on increased demand from the creative industry, including Onni Group, Jade Enterprises, Skanska, and Tishman Speyer, which all have projects planned nearby. Los Angeles-based Lowe is already in the midst of construction on a nine-story building just one block east of the Ford Factory on Violet Street.
Likewise, developers outside of the office sector have also looked to build on the neighborhood's growing cachet. One block north, Greystar completed work on the 320-unit AMP lofts in 2019, and AvalonBay Communities is now in the midst of construction on the 475-unit AVA Arts District development at Industrial and Alameda Streets. Directly across the street from the Ford Factory, a couple of local artists are planning a 15-story expansion of the historic Rendon Hotel.
Hines, the developer leading the new project on Violet Street, is also a partner on the West Edge office and housing complex now under construction next to Expo/Bundy Station in the Sawtelle neighborhood.
- Downtown (Urbanize LA)