Beverly Hills tries to protect corporate cachet
Beverly Hills has long afforded companies a platinum-plated address with amenities to match -- top-notch restaurants, hotels and boutiques in a walkable environment.
The city has attracted such prestigious businesses as MySpace, Live Nation, Platinum Equity and talent agencies William Morris and the Firm.
But in recent years Beverly Hills has suffered the loss of three high-profile companies: Creative Artists Agency and ICM, talent agencies that migrated to Century City; and Hilton Hotels Corp., which moved to Virginia after being acquired by Blackstone Group.
Conscious of those departures, the city has zeroed in on a new trend in commercial buildings that officials fear could hamper its ability to lure more big companies.
The trend is the move toward converting leased buildings into "office condos" in which square footage would be owned by the commercial entities that occupy it. Building owners who have embraced the concept say the strategy allows companies to build equity, much as residents (in good economic times) benefit from condo ownership.
-- Martha Groves in Beverly Hills