Google to Lease Converted Mall in Race for L.A. Office Space

(Bloomberg) -- Google is expanding its footprint in Los Angeles with the lease of a planned 584,000-square-foot office campus that was formerly part of the Westside Pavilion shopping mall.

Google signed a 14-year lease to fill the entire project, called One Westside, when construction is complete, according to a statement today. Developers Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. and Macerich Co. are slated to complete the redevelopment in 2022, using the mall’s high ceilings and large floor plates to convert the structure into creative office space.

As big tech companies expand their operations and try to recruit in-demand workers, they’ve been snapping up office space around the country. Inc. announced two new headquarters in Virginia and New York last year. Apple Inc. is building a major new campus in Austin. And Google parent Alphabet Inc. has been branching out, too, with billions of dollars of investment in New York real estate as well as a massive redevelopment in San Jose.

Google to Lease Converted Mall in Race for L.A. Office Space

Having a larger space in Los Angeles could help Google recruit entertainment-industry workers for YouTube, its video platform. Increasingly, the company has been competing against Netflix Inc., Amazon and other media firms to create original programming. The search giant has also been trying to court media companies for its cloud business and recently set up a data center hub in the city.

Google’s lease validates a bet by Hudson Pacific and Macerich last year to redevelop the mall. When the plans for the project were announced, the partners said they would spend as much as $475 million on improvements. The mall is centrally located in Los Angeles, just a short walk from the light-rail Expo Line and close to freeways.

Google to Lease Converted Mall in Race for L.A. Office Space

Before there were plans to convert it into offices, the Westside Pavilion opened in 1985 and became an icon of 1980s mall culture. Tom Petty filmed part of the music video for his hit “Free Fallin’” there. But, in recent years, it fell on harder times as more consumers shifted to online shopping.

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