Larry Green, the former vice president of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, has formed his own company L. Green Investment and Development in Calabasas.
The year 2020 was full of surprises and one was Green’s departure from Westfield in Los Angeles. Despite exiting and launching his new venture over the summer, Green worked as a consultant to see the long-in-the-works Promenade 2035 project through to winning L.A. City Council approval in December. At his new real estate investment trust, or REIT, Green manages development investments for projects in San Francisco, Santa Barbara and West Los Angeles, where Green is an owner of Brentwood Country Mart. He also owns several buildings on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica and others in Westwood.
Green spoke with the Business Journal about his new venture.Question: Did the impact of COVID-19 have anything to do with your decision to leave Westfield or was it just coincidental? Answer: No, actually, I had been planning this for some time. It’s time to let the next generation take over.What is your new Calabasas-based venture?I’ve partnered with a good friend from childhood, Partners Capital Solutions’ Gary Leff. He’s somebody who’s done everything from high-end residential to retail. Essentially, what we’re doing is taking advantage of that fund and creating a new fund.
Where are some of these opportunities located? Santa Barbara, West Los Angeles, Beaumont.
Beaumont? It’s called the Interchange Logistics Center, located in the Inland Empire at the 60 and 10 freeways interchange. It’s 2 million square feet of space. It also has a retail piece that’s 160,000 square feet. It will be retail with a grocery anchor. It’s bringing a lot of jobs to Beaumont, one of the places that will benefit from (migration due to) the issues brought on by COVID.
Since the March outbreak, young adults suddenly began moving out to the suburbs. Can you speak to this reversal? A lot of people have left L.A. proper and they’re coming out for a better or different lifestyle. So, we have an $80 million to $100 million investment that’s shovel ready. Something we’ll undertake in 2021. The distribution center can be single or multiple tenants. A lot of these centers are going to retailers (such as) Target, TJ Maxx and Costco who are using it as their last-mile center. (Amazon.com Inc.) opened right next door. That’s part of that whole complex. Amazon has brought 1,500 jobs (to Beaumont).
What about in the San Fernando Valley? I’m really focused on Canoga Park. I like some of its streets and history. I’m interested in the new Specific Plan in Thousand Oaks.
What about the office market? I was in Century City for meetings at the Twin Towers there. It’s empty. It’s shocking. Warner Center is similar – a lot of high rises andnobody there.
Any reflections on this past year? It was one of the busiest years of my life. The challenges were enormous, and we were working our tails off. But it was the right time for me (to exit). We really just finished one of the most ambitious programs in the city (with Promenade 2035). We achieved something we wanted to get done that I spent decades trying to deliver. That project and (Westfield’s) UTC in San Diego — these were incredibly transformative projects. … It was very satisfying to transition at this time. Now, I can just focus on projects that will be a little more intimate.
Have you felt culture shock moving from a multinational corporation a boutique REIT with 20 employees in Conejo Valley? We’re having fun. My office is 10 minutes away from my house. I’m working with friends with a great track record. Gary has outperformed many of the big REITs. I’m still in touch with the people at Unibail.What’s your post-pandemic strategy? I’m not looking to be the next Westfield. We love Southern California, we love the Western states. … But we’re patient. … We can wait as long as we want.
– Michael Aushenker