AKA: CBRE Global Headquarters, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Becket, Welton D., and Associates, Architects (firm); Welton David Becket (architect)

Dates: constructed 1982

27 stories, total floor area: 704,933 sq. ft.

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400 South Hope Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90071-2801

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The 400 South Hope Street Office Building had an unusual hexagonal form, whose dimensions were determined, in large part, by views gained to the north. It was meant to be viewed from the Harbor Freeway (US Interatate 110), and had an angular, minimal quality typical of Late Modern corporate highrises of the 1960s and 1970s. Like many office towers of the 1970s and 1980, the exterior skin was sleek and reflective. Its surface was resolutely flat, with long ribbon-windows interspersed with courses of costly Italian red marble. The angular termination of the exterior's form and its thin alternating ribbons of window and wall, in general, recalled that of the 59-story Citicorp Center (later renamed Citigroup Center), New York, NY, completed in 1977 by Hugh Stubbins and Associates .

Building History

This marble-clad, high-rise office building was designed by Welton Becket Associates of Santa Monica, CA for the Toronto, ON-based developer, Olympia and York and the large Los Angeles law firm of O'Melveny and Myers. A statement by the architect was printed in a 1985 architectural awards book: "It was designed to be an effiicient, high-quality, tenant-occupied building, imparting a strong corporate image for O'Melveny & Myers. These requirements called for large, efficient floors with a clear span space deep enough for major legal firms requiring interior support space and dramatic view offices. The site is nearly square, facilitating a 45-degree orientation to produce maximum exposure to the north, desirable in the Los Angeles climate. The siting provides a permanent open view of the Hollywood Hills for a majority of offices. Viewed from the Harbor Freeway, one experiences the major form of the building which creates the desired unique image. The pattern of the buildings currently in the Bunker Hill redevelopment area establishes a secondary direction of 45 degrees to the street grid. Thus the orientation of 400 South Hope fits into the context of Bumker Hill, yet provides a singular building experience." (See "400 South Hope Street Building, Los Angeles, California," Marble Architectural Awards USA 1985, [Carrara: Regione Toscana Progetto Marmi, Internazionale Marmi e Macchine, 1985], p.44.) Within the rigid, corporate legal hierarchy, support staff were positioned closer to the inner utility core, with no direct access to windows, while a pecking order of lawyers received the offices on the perimeter with the best views.

The office building was completed in 11/1982.

Construction of the 1st Interstate Bank World Center in 1988-1990, blocked a full view of 400 South Hope Street from the 110 Freeway, thus dimishing its visual impact from the architect's original intention.

The real estate investment firm, CBRE Group, Incorporated, purchased 400 South Hope in 2012 for approximately $236 million. It located its global headquarters in the building, and became a prime tenant along with O'Melveny and Myers and BNY Mellon Bank, although it bought the building with the original intention of selling it at a large profit. CBRE has expertise in improving occupancy rates, which it did between 2012 and 2016 from 80% to 93%, through skill renovation and the introduction of two new restaurants. In 05/2016, CBRE sold the building to a partnership composed of Baltimore, MD-based PNC Realty Investors and Munich-based GLL Real Estate Partners for a reported $330 million. (See Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times.com, "CBRE sells downtown headquarters for $330 million," published 05/20/2016, accessed 02/18/2020.)

Building Notes

The 400 South Hope Street Building had 27 stories, with two atria on the 1st-2nd and 26th-27th floors. The building had a double-height lobby and 5 floors of underground parking. The typical floor plan had an open, free-span between a peripteral array of columns and those lining an inner utility core. The core contained stairways and freight elevators, mechanical and utlity rooms, bathrooms and a large lobby.

Becket designed a subtle and interesting hexagonal form for the building shaped to the location and climatic requirements. The architect elongated the dimension of the north-facing facet to enable maximum views in that direction. Two side facets facing northwest and east were equal in length and the shortest, Equal facets facing due west and southeast were next longest, joined by a south-facing facet that was slightly longer than the smallest northwestern and eastern segments. The coolest north facade was also maximized, while the hottest due-south facade, minimized.

The 400 South Hope Street Office Building won a Special Mention in Section I (External Facings), in the Marble Architectural Awards USA, 05/28/1985, from the Regione Toscana Progetto Marmi, Internazionale Marmi e Macchine, Carrara, Italy. (See "400 South Hope Street Building, Los Angeles, California," Marble Architectural Awards USA 1985, [Carrara: Regione Toscana Progetto Marmi, Internazionale Marmi e Macchine, 1985], pp.44- 51.) The building was clad in Napoleon red granite produced by Campolonghi S.p.A., Montignoso, Italy. The installer was Blaesing Granite Company of Beaverton, OR.

Los Angeles County Assessor Number: 5151017019

PCAD id: 9971