West Coast wanderlust hits several ad agencies

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Real estate agents are feasting on the ad agency business, at least on the West Coast, as more than a half-dozen top shops are moving to new quarters.

In several cases, the agencies will occupy somewhat non-traditional space.

Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles, is kicking the high-rise habit, leaving Wilshire Boulevard for the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, a one-level, green-glass building.

Dailey will occupy offices in a facility that also houses furniture and other designers.

"The physical renaissance follows the business renaissance of our company," said Cliff Einstein, board chairman and creative director, calling the new location an "idea village."


One of the benefits of the new location, Mr. Einstein added, was his company's planned tie-in with an office-furniture manufacturer to use the ad agency's offices as a showroom and test lab for its wares.

Kovel Kresser & Partners, Santa Monica, is negotiating to move this fall into a former supermarket, which could be retooled to meet the agency's needs. And TBWA Chiat/Day in Venice is modifying its "virtual agency" and planning a move to property once owned by Howard Hughes.

The TBWA move is intended not only to provide additional space for the agency's 400 employees--up from the 250 originally placed in the famous "binocular" building--but to offer something of a creative uplift as well.


"Reinvigorating" is what Lee Clow, chairman-chief creative officer for North America, calls the agency practice of moving about every five years--starting from its early days in the Biltmore Hotel, where room service delivered late-night sustenance.

TBWA has drawn up plans to add what Mr. Clow is calling "architectural events" at its proposed site--including a basketball court--that's part of the controversial and financially troubled Playa Vista development. The development was once home to Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose airplane; DreamWorks SKG is hoping to open a film facility there as well.

The new site, which he hopes to move into before yearend, will include some of the virtual work style espoused by agency founder Jay Chiat, but will include modifications including real offices for some agency disciplines such as media buying.

Also looking to move into a warehouse building is Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., now trying to sort out its problems with a developer and local government over government loans and subsidies before it moves into a trendy section of the city.

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, has opted for a more traditional setting, settling in today at its new quarters, a building styled after one of Michelangelo's Italian piazzas.

Foote, Cone & Belding, after sharing Levi Plaza with its anchor client for 13 years, is moving down the block to new space that will accommodate the agency's 440 employees. Previously FCB had been housed in a 350-person space that was part of the complex containing Levi Strauss & Co.'s headquarters.


"We are across the street, down the street, all over the neighborhood" because the agency had to find space as it grew, said Jack Boland, president of FCB's San Francisco operation. He added that the new space is designed to facilitate today's teamwork habits and not the individual offices for which the current space was designed.

The move "should not [be considered] a signal of the weakening of the relationship," said Mark Hogan, director of consumer marketing for the Levi's brand. Mr. Hogan said he still will be able to see FCB's offices from his window.


Winkler McManus also gave its office door a new look when it relocated, renaming itself Winkler Advertising and removing the name of a long-retired founder.

While all this is happening, one of Goodby's and FCB's neighbors, Hal Riney & Partners, has begun a search for a new site as its lease runs out.

And Suissa Miller, formerly of Santa Monica, needed more space following its win of the $100 million Acura account and has taken over excess FCB space in Los Angeles.

Suissa Miller will transform the traditional high-rise office space with the addition of a wild patchwork of carpet remnants as well as old Las Vegas lounge furniture.

Leonard Pearlstein, president of the Pearlstein Group, recently moved from Century City to West Los Angeles and expounded on the move's benefits.

"It's closer to the beach," he said.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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