Prime commercial real estate in major cities like New York and Los Angeles is known to come at a hefty price tag—one that doesn’t usually leave much room for the extras. But a project at a prominent intersection in Century City, a commercial district bordering Beverly Hills, is changing that—and even proving that it makes financial sense to do so. Formerly known as The Plaza, 18 East comprises two 1970s-era office towers that combine for just under 600,000 square feet of leasable space. When aerospace and defense technology giant Northrop Grumman moved out, CBRE, the real estate firm that managed the property at the time, decided to build upon the amenities its former tenant was leaving behind: namely, tennis and squash courts on the roof of the parking garage that sits between the two buildings.
CBRE’s vision was to activate that 22,000 square feet of rooftop as a park to enhance a complex that had minimal outdoor space. Called G-Cubed, the transformed surface, designed by firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), would include a gym, an event space, a bar, café seating, and chaise lounges for napping, in addition to the existing combined tennis and basketball court. All of that was easier said than done: The process was expensive and lengthy, one that involved adding beams and fiber-wrapping the floor below, in order to reinforce the structure for the increased loads within this seismic zone.