72andSunny Rents Former Office of Howard Hughes in Playa Vista – Playa Vista Real Estate

Design and ad firm 72andSunny has agreed to rent 58,000 square feet of space in two buildings that were once part of Hughes Aircraft’s headquarters.

After decades of silence and neglect, the renovated former office of aviation mogul Howard Hughes in Playa Vista will finally have a new occupant: design and advertising agency 72andSunny.

The company has agreed to rent 58,000 square feet of space in two buildings that were once part of Hughes Aircraft Co.’s headquarters and include the Mahogany Row offices that were home to top executives, including the brilliant but mercurial inventor and airman.

Who will occupy the corner suite where Hughes himself held sway?

“We decided that ghost was too good to be kept to any one person alone,” said John Boiler, chief executive of 72andSunny.

Mahogany Row will be restored to its original specifications and used for conference rooms and other common areas open to employees and visitors, he said. Most of the two-story steel structure built in 1950 will be converted to open-space offices intended to enhance collaboration.

The move is an expansion for 72andSunny, which now occupies about 30,000 square feet in Westchester, Boiler said. The company will grow to as many as 300 employees from 250.

72andSunny will also occupy part of another structure built of wood during World War II, when metal was in short supply. It housed engineers working on Hughes’ famous massive seaplane named Hercules but better known as the Spruce Goose. The ad agency will build a two-story theater inside.

Los Angeles landlord Ratkovich Co. expects to spend as much as $90 million to buy, restore and improve the old Hughes property it calls the Hercules Campus. Many of its 11 historic buildings have seen little use since the 1980s, though the enormous hangar where the Spruce Goose was assembled has served as a popular sound stage for film and television production.

Financial terms of 72andSunny’s 12-year lease were not disclosed, but Ratkovich Co. President Wayne Ratkovich said this year that he was asking for as much as $3 a square foot per month in rent. Internet video site YouTube and marketing agency Earthbound Media Group have also agreed to set up offices in the Hercules Campus.

72andSunny plans to move in March, Boiler said.

CashCall adds to its O.C. office space

Consumer finance lender CashCall Inc. will get its name on top of City Plaza in Orange after agreeing to lease seven floors in the tower.

In an expansion of its mortgage and finance offices, CashCall will rent 125,208 square feet in the 19-story tower at 1 City Blvd., landlord Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. said.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but real estate experts familiar with the Orange County office market valued the seven-year deal at about $20 million.

CashCall is one of Orange County’s largest employers with about 1,600 workers, Chief Executive J. Paul Reddam said.

The Anaheim company is growing quickly and has expanded its offices from 60,000 square feet in 2010, when it had 200 employees, to a total of 300,000 square feet in Orange County, said real estate broker Jay Carnahan, president of Orion Property Partners Inc.

“CashCall is indicative of the growth in the mortgage financing and consumer finance industry that is once again driving expansion in Orange County,” said Carnahan, who represents the lender.

CashCall will start moving into City Plaza in September. Five of the floors it will lease are being vacated by Kondaur Capital Corp., which is currently the building’s largest tenant, said Victor Coleman, chief executive of Hudson Pacific Properties.

The office tower is adjacent to the Outlets at Orange, a regional mall with restaurants, movie theaters and stores.

Watson Land to build Chino complex

Increasing shipping traffic at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has prompted developer Watson Land Co. to build an $80-million industrial complex in Chino on speculation of finding renters at a later time.

Watson Land will erect three structures housing a combined total of more than 1 million square feet on a 49-acre parcel at Kimball and Mountain avenues that it assembled over the last year, Vice President Craig B. Halverson said. Construction will begin in the second quarter of 2013.

Watson doesn’t have tenants lined up for the buildings, which could be used for manufacturing, warehousing or distribution. Halverson said the Carson company is comfortable creating them “on spec” because demand is rising for facilities that serve businesses using the ports.

“Vacancy is way down,” Halverson said. “Absorption has been strong, and we think it will continue to be strong for the near term.”

The planned buildings at Watson Commerce Center in Chino will be 530,000, 400,000 and 100,000 square feet. When they are complete, Watson Land will have 4 million square feet of industrial property in Chino.

roger.vincent@latimes.com

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