Agency may lease `Taj Mahal’


first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“Irrespective of the sins of the past, it is incumbent upon MTA to engage in rational decisions on their space utilization now,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “If they do indeed find themselves with available space, we would think, as taxpayer advocates, to consolidate their operations and sublease space is a good thing.” The MTA hopes to have a study on the issue completed by September. These days, the building houses 1,600 employees, compared with the 1,800 who worked there when it opened behind Union Station in 1995. But the MTA warns that consolidation might not be worth it, since it would cost as much as $400 per employee to relocate computers, phone lines and other office equipment. Downtown commercial real estate broker Mark Tarczynski said office buildings are commanding $16 to $22 a square foot – about $500,000 for a 22,000-square-foot floor of a high-rise. The MTA’s grandiose headquarters building – often dubbed “the Taj Mahal” – isn’t as busy or crowded as it used to be. Gone are the subway contractors who built the Metro Red Line. Missing are the employees whose jobs have been lost to budget cuts or reassigned to local offices in the community. Now, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering whether it could make money by leasing out empty floors of the 26-story office building. “We’re looking at what we can do to re-stack the building,” said MTA chief Roger Snoble. “If there’s an opportunity for us to take advantage of it, we’ll take advantage of it. It hasn’t happened yet.” Those who protested when the $145 million tower was built a decade ago – with Italian granite, imported tile and a massive board room – said the MTA has a chance to right its wrongs. “It’s great because it’s in the hub of mass transit. If someone’s commuting in from Orange County or Riverside, they can just take the train and, bingo, they’re there,” said Tarczynski, senior vice president of CBREs downtown urban redevelopment group. Meanwhile, the Exposition Construction Authority, which is building the MTA’s Exposition Line, recently rented downtown office space for its crew because there wasn’t a full floor available at the MTA, said Rick Thorpe, an executive for both the MTA and the Expo authority. [email protected] (818) 713-3761160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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