Bert Dezzutti

Bert Dezzutti, Brookfield Properties

Bert Dezzutti

Executive vice president for the western region at Brookfield Properties

Bert Dezzutti
By September 15, 2022 9:00 AM

Brookfield Properties already has the mantle of being the largest commercial landlord in Downtown Los Angeles, and the company is making sure to keep that title.

The landlord which has its 11 million-square-foot, western U.S. portfolio managed by Bert Dezzutti currently has three major projects in the works in the neighborhood and made significant headway on them over the past year, even with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Those projects were able to continue with full staffing and have met all of their construction milestones without delays,” Dezzutti said. “That’s a bright spot.”

Those projects include the $170 million redevelopment of the 1.8 million-square-foot California Market Center complex, which Brookfield completed the first 600,000-square-foot phase of in March. Brookfield was able to move in about 70 percent of the tenants — mainly fashion houses — before COVID-19 restrictions hit California, Dezzutti said.

The other two phases of the project — being redeveloped with creative office tenants in mind — are set to be complete in December 2021.

Also in March, Brookfield completed its renovations of the retail center and outdoor plaza at Wells Fargo Center, dubbed Halo, which has already attracted operators like Shake Shack and Danny Boy’s Pizza, a new concept created by one of the co-founders of The Meatball Shop based in New York City.

Brookfield also got the go-ahead from the city to start vertical construction on its 64-story residential tower at 960 West Seventh Street. The project will have 785 units, 5,000 square feet of retail, a parking garage, and is expected to open in 2022.

And, even with the coronavirus pandemic upending the world, Brookfield’s California portfolio hasn’t suffered too much.

“The assets that Brookfield owns are really institutional quality, and tend to be occupied by tenants that have the financial wherewithal to go through cycles and fluctuations,” Dezzutti said. “Our buildings have really performed very well from a rent collection and stabilization standpoint.”

One impact has been making tenants feel safe returning to work, something Dezzutti’s team has spent a great deal of time focused on. Brookfield got its Los Angeles buildings “capable and safe to reoccupy” within three weeks of the shutdown, and Dezzutti is confident occupancy rates will normalize in the middle of next year.

Aside from focusing on its current portfolio and projects, Dezzutti said Brookfield also has its eye on expanding its California portfolio next year.

“We are collectively looking at all sorts of things, as you can imagine, in the marketplace,” he said. “There will continue to be opportunities for us to grow. That is, clearly, one of our primary objectives in this environment.”—N.R.

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