Downtown Los Angeles, as with many office hubs across the county, has struggled to figure out what's next following the market shifts induced by the global pandemic. But a new arrival to the neighborhood could be a welcome shot in the arm.

On Thursday, UCLA announced that it had acquired the historic Trust Building in Downtown Los Angeles, a landmark 1928 building located at 433 S. Spring Street in the Historic Core. The 11-story building features 334,000 square feet of space, and has recently undergone a head-to-toe restoration by Rising Realty Partners.

Polychromatic tile ceiling in The Trust Building’s entrance vestibule. The tile was designed by Parkinson & Parkinson and Herman SachsHunter Kerhart Architectural Photography

“Los Angeles is one of the world’s greatest cities, and our university’s location within it both enriches the UCLA experience and provides us innumerable opportunities to serve our local communities,” said UCLA chancellor Gene Block and executive vice chancellor and provost Darnell Hunt in a written message. “We are thrilled about the possibilities this new space offers and confident that it will further intertwine UCLA and L.A., helping us to deepen the impact of our teaching, research and public service mission.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Trust Building will house classrooms and offices as part of a satellite campus called UCLA Downtown. The property could also host business startups and research space.

UCLA is expected to set up shop on Spring Street later this year with programs and administrative offices for UCLA Extension. The Times also reports that the university has not ruled out some form of redevelopment which could accommodate more students and housing.

The handful of tenants of the building, including an upcoming restaurant from celebrity chef Jose Andres, Rising Reality, and architecture firm KTGY, are expected to remain following the change of ownership.

Hunter Kerhart Architectural PhotographyHunter Kerhart Architectural Photography

The move Downtown comes at a time when UCLA has found itself in expansion mode. Last year, the university acquired the 24.5-acre property that once housed Marymount California University in Rancho Palos Verdes along with an 11-acre residential site in San Pedro. The two sites are being converted into the UCLA South Bay campus  and UCLA South Bay Villas, respectively.

This is also not the first attempt UCLA has made at establishing itself in Downtown, which Block and Hunt described as a longtime goal for the university. Six years ago, UCLA was attached to one of three finalist proposals for the Angels Landing site at 4th and Hill Streets, which sits two blocks east of the Trust Building. That project, which would have placed the university's satellite campus in a skyscraper above the Pershing Square subway station, lost out to a competing proposal led by MacFarlane Partners and the Peebles Corporation.

For a closer look at the future UCLA Downtown campus, check out our tour of The Trust Building when it was midway through its renovation in 2018.

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