University News

UCLA acquires Occidental Petroleum Building to reduce leasing expenses

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Occidental Petroleum headquarters
Coolcaesar/Wikipedia

Occidental Petroleum Building

UCLA has purchased the Occidental Petroleum Building in Westwood Village to reduce office leasing expenses and enhance efficiencies.

“This is an important strategic acquisition for UCLA,” said Steven Olsen, UCLA’s vice chancellor and chief financial officer. “Owning rather than leasing office buildings results in major cost savings over the long term and allows us to more efficiently manage the use of space on campus.”

The property includes a 16-story office tower, the building housing the Hammer Museum at UCLA and a 634-space underground parking garage. The complex occupies a full city block bounded by Wilshire and Westwood boulevards, Lindbrook Drive and Glendon Avenue.

The purchase price of $92.5 million was covered by the proceeds of bonds sold in 2012 to finance strategic capital projects and property acquisitions consistent with the campus’s long-term strategic needs.

With the purchase, which closed escrow on Oct. 23, UCLA has assumed a 99-year lease with the Hammer Museum, under which the museum will continue to occupy the museum building and expand into the full first five floors of the office tower.

“We are thrilled to be sharing this building with UCLA and are excited about our future plans to expand, improve and transform our space,” said Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum.

The Hammer Museum is a charitable non-stock corporation that is operated by UCLA pursuant to a 99-year operating agreement that began in 1994.

UCLA will occupy approximately 161,000 square feet on floors six through 16 of the office building; plans for occupancy are being developed. UCLA currently leases about 300,000 square feet of space in Westwood.

When it opened in 1962, the office building was among the first high-rises in Westwood Village. Occidental Petroleum had owned the office tower since 1968. The company moved its corporate headquarters to Houston in 2014 and put the property on the market earlier this year.

The office tower building was designed by architect Claud Beelman, a leader in the Art Deco and Moderne movements on the West Coast. Among other buildings, Beelman also designed the Superior Oil Company headquarters (now the Standard hotel) in downtown Los Angeles and the Union Bank Center (now the Mercury condominiums) in Los Angeles’ Koreatown district.

The Hammer Museum building was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes. The complex’s museum courtyard and cafe (opened in 2006), Billy Wilder Theater (2006) and John V. Tunney Bridge (2015) were designed by architect Michael Maltzan. 

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