I’m told the deal has just gone down for WMA’s much prized real estate holdings in prime Beverly Hills territory — two on El Camino Drive, and one on Rodeo Drive. They’d been for sale for months but only for the right price. I understand that a single consortium of buyers formed to scoop up all the property at a premium pricetag. In 2010, WMA moves to a green building currently under construction on North Beverly Drive also in Beverly Hills. So the agency will rent back office space until the relocation. In the early decades of the 20th century, the William Morris Agency based in NYC opened its first Los Angeles office in 1927 in the State Theatre Building, eight miles away from the city’s downtown Broadway theatre district. In modern times, the agency has been located at William Morris Plaza on El Camino Drive. In 1998, the street was re-named William Morris Place by the City of Beverly Hills on the occasion of William Morris’ 100th Anniversary. The three trophy buildings totalled approximately 185,000 square feet of space at 150 S. Rodeo Drive and 150-151 S. El Camino Drive. Irv Weintraub, WMA COO, said at the time of the offering that the agency decided to explore its options because of demand for real estate in the so-called Beverly Hills Golden Triangleh where the direct office vacancy rate is only 2.9%, and there are extraordinary barriers to new construction. WMA has hired architectural and design firm Gensler to develop the new headquarters featuring more than 175,000 square feet of office space and 30,000 square feet of retail space and restaurants at its base.
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