I was pleased to join Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today to welcome one of the most respected architecture firms in the world. Gensler, a global architecture and design firm, has begun the process of relocating their over 235 employees from the City of Santa Monica to our city. The firm signed a 12-year lease with owner Thomas Properties Group to occupy the two upper floors of the “Jewel Box” at the heart of the City National Plaza in Downtown LA. The move was due in large part to a Business Tax Holiday on gross receipts for any new business that chose to relocate to office space in Los Angeles. In addition to taking advantage of this stimulus initiative, Gensler hopes to be on the leading edge of development in an area that has seen a renaissance in business and design just within the last decade. It has plans to transform the building in its signature architectural style, making it both environmentally-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.
I was glad to be joined by Gensler Executive Director Andy Cohen, and Thomas Properties CEO James A. Thomas to announce this exciting new development, and look forward to continued cooperation in revitalizing this prime downtown real estate. In the next five years, they pledge to increase their workforce by 100 new employees. That is a real investment here in our urban center. Today we welcome Gensler and we hope others will follow their lead.