Jerry Snyder is moving forward with second Museum Row office campus

Developer Jerry Snyder and a rendering of the Wilshire Curson building, left of SAG/AFTRA's headquarters (credit: Jerde Partnership)
Developer Jerry Snyder and a rendering of the Wilshire Curson building, left of SAG/AFTRA's headquarters (credit: Jerde Partnership)

It was first proposed in 2013, a creative office building in an area that sorely lacked new product. There were rumors it was planned for a singular mystery tenant. Then the talk died down, and the project seemingly disappeared.

Now, developer Jerry Snyder’s 12-story office development at 620 South Curson Avenue in Museum Row is back from the dead, and is expected to break ground within six months.

The building, dubbed Wilshire Curson, will be the first new office development in the Miracle Mile since the 1980s, when Snyder’s J.H. Snyder Company completed the almost 1 million-square-foot Wilshire Courtyard complex. It will have 250,000 square feet of creative office space, and will cost roughly $150 million to construct, Snyder said. He expects the project will be complete in late 2017.

“I started building (in Miracle Mile) in ‘78 when it wasn’t much of an area,” Snyder told The Real Deal. “It’s come a long way with the Grove, and now the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is coming, and that will have a theater. Then, we have the subway in four years.”

The Wilshire Curson building will join Snyder’s 10-story building at 5757 Wilshire, now known as SAG-AFTRA Plaza, replacing an existing surface parking lot. The new building will sit behind SAG-AFTRA’s retail and service shops along Wilshire.

Wilshire Curson will share SAG-AFTRA’s parking structure, which will get an extra two floors, shielded with a vine-covered trellis and green screen and fronted by a row of palm trees.

Designed by Jerde Partnership, the project will have a faceted geometric facade of glass that lifts over the main entrance on Curson Avenue. Its two-story lobby will open onto a public garden. The building will bookend its neighbors, the LaBrea Tar Pits and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Wilshire Curson was originally slated for a single tenant — one which Snyder wouldn’t name. That tenant is now out of the picture, he said, and Wilshire Curson will be built on spec.

“We have seen that tenants like to see the steel up,” Snyder said. “We are building at Vine and Selma and we’ve got concrete up to eighth floor, and now we’re getting action because people believe us when we say we can get it done in March. People gotta be able to touch it.”

While Snyder said he got through the city’s approval process for Wilshire Curson last year, he was occupied in Hollywood. The 86-year-old developer, who has been building for more than six decades, is keeping busy. He recently completed his 959 Hollywood development, nabbing three entertainment tenants — Broad Green Pictures, Formosa Group and Bold Films. Snyder’s 8-story creative office building at 1601 Vine Street is nearing completion, and was designed by Gensler.

Snyder had a major hand in shaping the Miracle Mile, which hasn’t gotten as much attention lately as the revitalization of Hollywood, where Netflix recently signed 323,000-square-foot lease. The Miracle Mile office market saw some mass entertainment-related departures a few years ago, when showbiz publication Variety moved out of the roughly 60,000 square feet it had at 5900 Wilshire. Then NBCUniversal consolidated its E! Entertainment, Esquire, Bravo and Oxygen networks, all of which were located in the Miracle Mile’s “media row,”  to the company’s Universal City headquarters. The moves left large vacancies, which have since tightened. The vacancy rate in the Miracle Mile dropped from 12 percent in the first quarter of this year to 10.7 percent in the second quarter.

While Snyder’s newest project in the Miracle Mile has a creative office layout, he said he is not solely courting media or tech tenants.

When asked who he is hoping to attract, he said, “anybody who pays me rent.”

This will not likely be Snyder’s last development, he said.

“If someone walks into my office with an attractive deal this afternoon, I’d go for it now,” he said. “I’m a deal junkie. I love to build.”