BuzzFeed looking at big expansion to Arts District

ford-factory-shorenstein.jpgShorenstein Properties rendering of renovated Ford factory in Arts District.

According to the Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed is in talks to possibly lease the former Ford Model T factory on the edge of downtown Los Angeles. I think that would mean the block across Santa Fe Avenue from Stumptown Coffee, just south of 7th Street. That would put BuzzFeed in the same emerging, once-industrial neighborhood as Bestia, Bread Lounge, Silver Lake Wines and a bunch of newer places.

From the WSJ story, which cites "people familiar with the talks:"

The 250,000-square-foot potential lease suggests large West Coast ambitions for the company, which is hot off a $200 million investment from NBCUniversal that valued it at around $1.5 billion. BuzzFeed is considering multiple options in addition to the former Ford factory, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

Under the deal being discussed, BuzzFeed would lease the entire five-story building, which is being redeveloped as an office building by Shorenstein Properties. The building, which once was used for assembling Model Ts and later was used as a toy factory, is roughly as large as BuzzFeed’s Manhattan headquarters. That amount of space typically holds 1,500 to 2,500 employees when laid out as standard office space.


A large chunk of the company’s current Los Angeles operation is made up of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, a division it has invested heavily in during the past year. It currently employs about 230 people at its Hollywood studio space to create an average of 70-75 short video clips per week.

When the NBCUniversal investment was announced earlier this month, the companies said they would explore a variety of strategic partnerships including collaborating on television content, movies, the Olympics, and joint partnerships with brands and ad agencies.

Should the real-estate deal be completed, it would make BuzzFeed among the largest tech startups in Los Angeles by office-space footprint. At 250,000 square feet, the company would have more space in the city than Amazon or Snapchat, and a similar level to Google, according to real estate services firm JLL.

The Downtown News reported last December that San Francisco's Shorenstein Properties paid $37 million for the circa-1912 Ford Motor Factory building at the southwest corner of 7th Street and Santa Fe Avenue, and two accompanying structures.

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