The Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles has gone from expensive-but-lowkey neighborhood to trendy playground of opulence in the past year, attracting swanky private club SoHo House, a high-end open air mall, and tons of creative office space. And, rumored to be sliding right into the middle of it all is very wealthy media company BuzzFeed—according to "people familiar with the talks," BF is considering renting up an entire old Ford factory on the edge of the AD, the Wall Street Journal reports. The building is lovely and has a pretty interesting history; it sold last year and is now in the process of getting a ritzy makeover for office tenants.
Having that much space—250,000 square feet in the entire five-story building—would put Buzzfeed among the largest startups in LA in terms of office footprint. (Netflix just scored 200,000 square feet in Hollywood. Today BF is spread out around Hollywood and Fairfax.) It's supposedly not the only possible choice for a future Buzzfeed HQ (although rumors have been swirling for ages), but what's not to love here? The old Ford complex is already a lovely building and is set to undergo a major renovation that will transform it into hip offices with street-level retail space where BuzzFeeders can spend all that listicle cash.
Though most famous for its time as the headquarters for the Southern California production of Model As and Ts, it was later used as a toy factory and as a warehouse for American Apparel's army of vintage mannequins. Late last year, developer Shorenstein Properties snapped up the property for $37 million, planning to create mixed-use office space with storefronts along the street. Completion then was predicted for sometime in the first half of 2016.
Shorenstein plans to remove the sky blue paint and chicly expose the brick exterior of the old factory. The rooftop, which offers Downtown views, will be turned into a massive deck; the water tower will remain, solely as decoration. Landscaping and some rec space (like basketball courts) will be added, along with a parking garage. The retail space would be filled up with cool shops only—never, heaven forbid, a Starbucks.
Curbed toured the building in 2013, when it housed American Apparel's mannequins; see those photos below, plus renderings of what it will look like as office space:
· BuzzFeed Is Laying Groundwork For Major Expansion in Los Angeles [WSJ]
· First Look at the Mixed-Use Makeover For the Arts District's 1913 Ford Factory [Curbed LA]
· Beautiful Old Ford Factory in the Toy District Becoming Mixed-Use Office Complex [Curbed LA]
· Touring the 1913 Ford Plant Where American Apparel Keeps Its Sexy Mannequin Army [Curbed LA]