Downtown gets Lucky (Brand) for the next decade [Updated]
After 17 years in nearby Vernon, jeans maker Lucky Brand is headed to downtown Los Angeles. The subsidiary of Liz Claiborne Inc., will be moving its headquarters into a yet-to-be built 46,000-square-foot building at 540 S. Santa Fe Ave.
"It's currently vacant property," said Trace Chalmers, president of CEG Construction, which owns the parcel and will be building it out. He described it as a former railroad property his company had owned for the last decade. "We had it in escrow to a loft guy to do lofts, but after he backed out we put it on the market as a design/build project."
According to Chalmers, ground-breaking will be in December, with occupancy expected by June 2011. "It's a 100% creative office building that Lucky Brand will be using as design studios and corporate headquarters," Chalmers told All The Rage. "There won't be any warehousing."
Chalmers said CEG Construction will continue to own the property, leasing it to Lucky Brand for a 10-year term at a cost of $15 million.
Liz Claiborne representatives could not be reached for comment on the reason for moving the jeans maker's headquarters from Vernon, where it has been for all but the earliest years of its existence.
[Updated Nov. 10, 9 a.m.: Shortly after the original post, a Liz Claiborne representative e-mailed the following quote from Lucky Brand CEO Dave DeMattei about the reason for the move:
“Los Angeles offers access to a strong labor force, world-class design talent, and cutting-edge technology, as well as a thriving entrepreneurial culture. The independent thinking and unique style that signify the Southern California lifestyle have always been important to Lucky Brand’s heritage, and continue to be a significant inspiration for the brand, making the decision to move our headquarters to the City of L.A. a natural fit."
According to the e-mail, the new space's location in the Downtown Artists District, closer to the LA Fashion BID, would be able to "bring everyone together under one roof -- whereas now they are a bit spread out," and noted that the timeframe for the move would be sometime in the third-quarter of 2011.]
In May 1999, Claiborne bought an 85% stake in the label that had been co-founded in 1990 by Barry Perlman and Gene Montesanto as Lucky Brand Dungarees.
-- Adam Tschorn
Photo: In a 1998 file photo, Lucky Brand founders Barry Perlman, left, and Gene Montesano sit atop stacks of jeans in their 4500 District Blvd. warehouse in Vernon. The subsidiary of Liz Claiborne Inc. will be moving its headquarters to downtown Los Angeles. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times.