It’s been widely reported that a number of enterprises are leaving the Valley. Despite this trend, some companies, such as hospitality and residential interior design firm Creative Resource Associates, have strategically settled here. In November, the firm, which counts international hotel brands Marriott, Hilton and Host among its clients, moved into an 8,000-sq.-foot facility on Erwin Street in Woodland Hills. The move came after about an 18-month search for a Valley property. CRA still uses a 6,000 sq. feet facility in Culver City, but the Woodland Hills operation will now be the firm’s base. So, what brought the firm to Woodland Hills? “Me and my partners we all live in the Valley, for one thing,” explained CRA head Michael Lindelaub. “We recognize there’s a lot of great talent over the hill. We thought it was a good purchase opportunity, and, so, with that, we’ve found we’ve been able to recruit a lot of talented people who otherwise would drive over the hill.” Because the firm moved to Woodland Hills rather than trying to locate real estate in West Los Angeles, CRA has been able to invest more of its money in technology as well as in a facility that Lindelaub described as “state-of-the-art.” “We’re in a better building,” he said. “It’s a good size, built well, very attractive to our clients. All of those things help attract great employees.” Now that CRA has a Valley office, it has increased its personnel from 27 to 35 staffers. The Woodland Hills office serves as an outreach for international and luxury hotel work, while the smaller Culver City office is now known as “Studio CRA.” “It’s a think tank,” Lindelaub said. “No business is done in Culver City. It’s all creative talent, and here in Woodlands Hills, we’ve got tremendous technology, great presentation rooms. This is really the hub of our operation, with Culver City being more of a creative studio and outlet.” More efficiency Lindelaub believes that moving the office to Woodland Hills has allowed CRA to operate more efficiently and, thus, become a greater talent. So far, clients haven’t minded the change, he said. “A lot of our clients are flying into Burbank, which is just as convenient as flying into LAX. It hasn’t really hurt us. It’s been terrific,” he said. Branching out to the Valley has inspired CRA to re-brand itself, not to mention energized staffers, Lindelaub continued. Most importantly, the new Valley facility allows the firm to more effectively communicate with clients overseas, he feels. CRA has engaged in international work throughout the Middle East, including in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. “We are about to announce the completion of a 280,000-sq.-feet palace in Saudi Arabia,” Lindelaub said. CRA has also worked on projects in Asia. The firm recently opened a new office in Hong Kong. On the local front, CRA is working on a number of projects in West Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Hollywood and Beverly Hills, including a brand of upscale apartments that are sustainable under the firm’s development plan. All in all, “This looks to be a terrific year for us,” Lindelaub said.
Interior Design Firm Finds Right Space in Valley