Suicide Musings Turn to $600 Million in L.A. Investments
March 4, 2014

At 84, Los Angeles developer Jerry Snyder has $600 million of projects under construction or planned, including two apartment towers in the city’s Koreatown area and three office buildings.

“My doctor asked me, ‘When are you going to quit?’” Snyder said in an interview at his 30th-floor corner office overlooking the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and La Brea Tar Pits. “So I said, ‘Are you a better doctor now than you were 10 years ago?’ He said yes. Well, I am a better builder than I was 10 years ago...”

I have been hearing more and more, ‘I need more space,’” Snyder said. “When you get the ‘I need more space’ in more than one of your buildings, you know things are getting better. It’s time to build.”

Snyder said he is planning a $70 million office project on Vine Street in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, which he will start building later this year even without tenant commitments. He also said in the interview that he expects to start a $100 million building on Wilshire Boulevard, in addition to a $138 million Hollywood office development that’s already been announced.

Rising Confidence

“We saw a rise in activity toward year-end for a number of reasons, including an increase in confidence by some Los Angeles-area companies as the national economy continued its modest recovery,” Mark Sullivan, executive vice president at New York-based commercial real estate services firm Studley Inc., said in an e-mailed statement.

Snyder last month broke ground on the $138 million Hollywood office project without tenant commitments, aiming for entertainment and media-related clients. His other speculative office development in the area will be a 107,000-square-foot building on Vine across from the W Hollywood hotel, he said. He is awaiting final regulatory approval and expects to begin construction in September.

“The office market was hit hard during the recession,” Snyder said. “But it’s pretty strong now in pockets. In Hollywood, for example, we’re right in the middle of post-production and all the ancillary businesses. It’s booming.”

‘Lackluster’ Leasing

Some of the biggest issues facing Los Angeles office developers are the slow growth in rents and the uneven recovery, according to a fourth-quarter report by tenant representative Studley.

“Other than a couple of larger renewals and some significant health-care leases, fourth-quarter leasing in most of the market was once again lackluster,” the firm said. The the majority of “employers -- particularly traditional-space users -- remain cautious and focused on cost containment...”

Suicide Musings Turn to $600 Million in L.A. Investments

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