By Roger Vincent
December 2, 2012, 4:30 p.m. (View original article)

Chinatrust Bank has agreed to move its U.S. headquarters from Torrance to downtown Los Angeles.(Mani Brothers Real Estate Group)

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.

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor
December 13, 2012 (View original article)

Taiwan-based Chinatrust Bank is set to move its headquarters after a recent announcement was made by company officials regarding a new lease deal. The financial entity will move its operations from its current Torrance HQ to the new location, in 801 Tower, in the financial neighborhood located just north of the Staples Center. While specifics of the deal were not disclosed, speculations place the length of the deal at around 10 years while the value of the agreement should be around $20 million.

Chinatrust Bank will move about 175 employees into its two floors of office space at the 801 Tower, totaling approximately 40,000 square feet, by the middle of 2013. The bank was looking for a more financial-friendly neighborhood and L.A.’s financial district located north of the downtown area dominated by Staples Center was the best choice. The Los Angeles Times notes that the company’s move from Torrance to a central L.A. location is part of a current trend that reverses the former migration seen in the mid-1980s when so many companies left downtown areas of major cities for the suburbs.

This move will also change the appearance of 801 Tower, as Chinatrust will introduce its company name to the top of the highrise. 801 Tower is located at 801 South Figueroa Street. Completed in 1992, the 10,600-square-foot facility rises 381 feet. According to Skyscraperpage.com, the building was the first major property to be sold in downtown L.A. in five years when, in 1996, it was traded for $60 million.