Local News
William Morris Opts for New Beverly Hills”™ Digs
By Sharifah Chammas
Jul 22, 2007 - 10:15:47 PM


The agency's old landmark digs on El Camino Drive in Beverly Hills. Photo By Daniel Kuo.


William Morris Opts for New Beverly Hills Digs


by: Sharifah Chammas

BEVERLY HILLSAfter the defections of  two of entertainment’s mammoth size, A-list talent agencies, International Creative Management and Creative Artists Agency, will Beverly Hills ”“ the city dubbed as “the entertainment capital of world” ”“ keep its title?   This week the city’s planning commission holds a public hearing to further evaluate whether the city can retain the mighty William Morris Agency.


Instead of joining the exodus of entertainment firms to Century City, William Morris plans to relocate less than two blocks away from its current overcrowded offices and into a newly constructed building ”“ pending city approval ”“ on the 200 block of   North Beverly Drive, which is adjacent to the Bank of America building.  The bank’s parking garage currently sits on the property site earmarked as the future headquarters of the agency.   


Owners of the property, New York-based developer Green Comfort & Sons, submitted an application, in April, to the city for the new development.  The city’s architectural commission reviewed the proposal in June.  And on July 25, representatives for the project will present its environmental impact on the city before the planning commission and public at City Hall.


If its new headquarters are approved, the agency will join the ranks of entertainment companies going green.   Gensler Architects, based in Santa Monica, designed the project to conserve energy and water and meet the standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. 


After calling Beverly Hills its home for more 70 years, the agency, found itself in the same conundrum as ICM and CAA.  All three top agencies are large tenants with an increasing demand for office space amid a dwindling supply of vacancies in  commercial offices.


While its current office complex houses the agency’s employees into two separate buildings, divided by El Camino Drive, the proposed new headquarters includes a whopping 117,225 square feet of office space and houses its entire staff under one roof.  The agency will be the sole tenant of the building, which also features a screening room with the capacity to seat up to 200 people.


More traffic congestion?: A picture of the Montage Hotel Development on N. Beverly Drive across the proposed WM headquarters.  Photo by Daniel Kuo.

But with the upscale Montage hotel being built across the street and a proliferation of new developments, two concerns remain at the public's forefront: increased traffic congestion and decreased parking space.  Construction of the new site requires a demolition of the Bank of America parking garage and will temporarily displace the parking spots of more than 200 Bank of America parking tenants.


William Morris initially planned to relocate to Westwood, where Blackstone Co. recently snapped up 1.6 million square feet of office space in four different Westwood office towers.

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