By Eddie Kim | Downtown News
Sandwiched in the shadows between the soaring U.S. Bank and Gas Company towers, the 14-story One Bunker Hill cuts an unassuming figure.
In recent years it was the equally unassuming home of law offices, real estate firms and the Torrey Pines Bank. The bones of the beautiful 1931 structure remained cloaked in drop ceilings, restrictive hallways and lots and lots of drywall, artifacts of a 1980s renovation.
Having turned (and sold) the aging PacMutual complex in the Financial District into modern creative office space a few blocks away, Downtown-based Rising Realty Partners bought One Bunker Hill in October 2015.
The company and its partners, Lionstone Investments and Hermes Investment Management of London, saw an opportunity to follow the PacMutual formula, opening up ceiling heights and unveiling raw concrete walls and floors. The aim is to draw more tech, media and innovation companies, said Christopher Rising, founder and president of Rising Realty.
“We have an incredible lobby with detail people don’t even craft anymore. We want to activate the space with food and drink, see people working here,” Rising said during a recent tour of the structure at 601 W. Fifth St. “There are outdoor patios that we’re restoring, and we’re just making the building a more modern one, inside and out.”
The work starts with a new name: the CalEdison. It’s a nod to the structure’s original role as the headquarters of the Southern California Edison Company. It was one of the first all-electrically heated and cooled structures in the Western United States, according to the L.A. Conservancy.
Rising Realty, also helmed by Christopher Rising’s father, Chairman and CEO Nelson Rising, has created four new suites (14,000 square feet total) with open floor plans and the raw-concrete aesthetic, and will build out more spaces as tenants leave and new ones arrive.
Additionally, a patio on the fourth floor that was glassed-in during the 1980s will be restored, while a third-floor space will be converted into a second patio. Heavy work is expected to start in the coming months.
There are under-the-skin improvements, too, including the installation of Internet infrastructure that allows people to work on their protected networks anywhere in the building. Additionally, the property was certified LEED Platinum in December — a particularly difficult achievement for historic buildings — by cutting carbon emissions, meeting strict standards for air and light quality, and tweaking workplace behaviors, Rising said.
“Earlier in my career, the mindset was that tenants did what they wanted. Now we’re creating value as a landlord not just with a renovation, but by changing how tenants work, whether it’s using fewer parking spaces or not using bottled water,” Rising added.
Occupancy has risen to 72% from a low of 53% shortly after the sale. New tenants include real estate investment firm General Growth Properties and architecture firm Torti Gallas.
Rising Realty’s Downtown roster also includes the already-reworked Park DTLA at Third and Figueroa streets and the Title Insurance Building at 433 S. Spring St., which it acquired last June.