Press Releases

SOM to Revive Historic Desmond Building for Entertainment Giant AEG

Los Angeles, CA – City officials and Southland business leaders, Lincoln Property Company, joined AEG executives to announce the company’s agreement to lease the entire Desmond Building, whose renovation and interiors are being designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM).

AEG plans on relocating more than 500 employees from its AEG Live and AXS Ticketing divisions. As the second largest concert touring and promotions company in the world, AEG Live’s move further solidifies Downtown Los Angeles as the center of arts, culture, dining, sports, and business in the region.

The Desmond has already started to transform. Designed in 1916, the building originally housed the Willys Overland Company's car dealership and assembly plant. The building, which later became a Desmond's department store warehouse, is located along the proposed line for the Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar project.

"This project will breathe new life into the long-vacant Desmond building and answer the ever-increasing call for creative office spaces, while bringing 500 new jobs to Downtown L.A.," said Council Member José Huizar. "Whether we're talking about commercial reuse for creative office and boutique hotels like we're seeing on Broadway, new construction like we're seeing in South Park and the Arts District, or finding new uses for gems like the Desmond building, it's clear Downtown Los Angeles is open for business."

The transformation includes high quality, creative office space, a ground floor cafe and the addition of a 7,000-square-foot sixth floor that will bring the total size of the building to 82,000 square feet. Construction is anticipated to last eight months, with full occupancy expected in April 2015.

This will be the first of many potential renovations of historic properties located in the South Park district for creative office use. The adaptive reuse of this five-story concrete and brick building will include loft offices with a new glass pavilion added above the existing roof, creating a new sixth level. SOM’s design will include major structural upgrades, effectively inserting a new concrete frame into the building to fully meet the seismic and lateral loading code. While the new concrete frame will be significant, it will have minimal impact on the open floor plan. The existing steel windows will be refurbished and new storefronts will be designed for the street level.

"This is exciting news for our city, showing again that Downtown Los Angeles is one of the hottest and most vibrant neighborhoods in America to work, live, and play," said Mayor Eric Garcetti.

When completed, The Desmond will be a significant catalyst for development in the South Park neighborhood of Downtown Los Angeles. “The current influx of creative and entertainment users into Downtown Los Angeles is providing opportunities for us to re-purpose buildings in the historic district, as well as to re-think how the typical Class A office towers are being transformed to accommodate creative office users,” said Michael Mann, SOM Director.

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban‐planning firms in the world, with a 75‐year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,700 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.