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Farmers Insurance Hands Off LA HQ Complex to CIM Ahead of Move to Warner Center

High Powered Real Estate Investment Firm Takes Control of 10-Acre Wilshire Blvd.Campus as Insurer Preps for Move
April 22, 2014
Farmers Insurance, the insurance firm founded in Los Angeles in 1928 and sponsor of the ubiquitous "We Are Farmers" television commercials, has agreed to sell its longtime headquarters campus on Wilshire Blvd. to CIM Group and lease-back part of the space until its new headquarters being retrofitted in Warner Center are completed.

The agreement to sell the 10-acre complex in the Park Mile District of Los Angeles for an undisclosed price is part of the insurance firm's phased transition to Farmers Plaza at Warner Center, which began last year. The firm is planning to move more employees to the new location through early 2019, with a total of more than 1,500 employees eventually making the transition.

"We are excited about our progress in transitioning our employees to the newer, more modern Farmers Plaza at Warner Center -- a move that will offer a more contemporary, engaging work environment for our employees and also keep us headquartered in the city of Los Angeles," said Farmers Insurance CEO Jeff Dailey in a statement announcing the agreement.

For CIM, the agreement presents "an unparalleled opportunity to acquire a substantial property on Wilshire Boulevard in this desirable neighborhood," noted Shaul Kuba, founding principal of the high-powered real estate investment firm.

The urban office campus consists of four city blocks bounded by Keniston Avenue to the west and Muirfield Road to the east one-half mile from the Metro Purple Line subway station under construction at Wilshire and La Brea Boulevards.

Farmers Insurance announced plans to relocate to a pair of buildings in Warner Center on Owensmouth Ave. that formerly housed the headquarters of 21st Century Insurance, which Farmers acquired in 2009. In deciding to relocate its headquarters, Farmers said the buildings on Wilshire Blvd., one of which dates back to 1937, require substantial upgrades.

CIM, which repositioned the Hollywood and Highland retail and entertainment complex in one of its most successful projects, has made a number of high-profile moves in the market recently. In February, the investment firm acquired Two California Plaza, a 52-story office tower in downtown Los Angeles as part of a seven-property portfolio from special servicer CWCapital Asset Management. Other properties included in the acquisition were Montclair Plaza, a two-story enclosed regional shopping mall in Montclair, CA, and Stadium Towers Plaza, a 12-story office tower in Orange County.

More recently CIM announced it has partnered Denham Hospitality Group to bring The James hotel brand to Los Angeles, with plans to open a new boutique hotel at the southeast corner of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevards in the firm's two-block Sunset La Cienega mixed-use development in West Hollywood. The James Los Angeles is expected to open in 2016.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, CIM maintains regional offices in New York, Oakland, CA and Bethesda, MD outside Washington, D.C.

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