Downtown LA Draws Chinatrust Bank HQ, Highlighting Its Rising Appeal As A Destination

Chinatrust Bank headquarters coming to downtown Los Angeles

LA Times, 12/2/2012

chinatrust bldgChinatrust Bank has agreed to move its U.S. headquarters from Torrance to downtown Los Angeles.

The bank will rent two floors in 801 Tower, a company representative said. The high-rise is in the financial district north of Staples Center.

“We wanted to be in a major financial area,” said Brian Gregson, head of Chinatrust U.S.A.’s retail banking group. “This is the early stage of getting our ducks in a row to start some expansion.”

The bank’s name will be affixed on top of the 25-story tower at 801 S. Figueroa St., he said.

Taiwan-based Chinatrust has 12 branches in the United States, seven of which are in Southern California. The bank will move about 175 employees to the new headquarters by the middle of next year, Gregson said.

Terms of the lease with landlord Mani Brothers Real Estate Group were not disclosed, but data provider CoStar said the agreement is for 10 years. At current rents, the lease for nearly 40,000 square feet would be valued at nearly $20 million.

Chinatrust’s decision to move downtown is part of a recent trend for businesses to relocate their main offices to the financial center, reversing the exodus of previous decades, real estate broker Ted Simpson of Cushman & Wakefield said.

“This speaks to the emergence of downtown L.A. as a corporate headquarters destination not seen since the 1980s,” said Simpson, who represented the bank in the transaction with his partner Michael Ma.

Other companies to recently move their main offices or regional headquarters downtown include law firm Haight Brown Bonesteel and architecture firm Gensler.

“Corporations are once again choosing downtown for its attractiveness to its employees, not just low cost,” Simpson said.

Average rents are cheaper downtown than on the popular Westside, in part because downtown has higher vacancy. Large corporations including Arco and First Interstate Bank left downtown in past decades or substantially reduced their offices.

*Shared by Jeff Vertun, Scott Steuber & Ted Simpson

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