Samitaur In the News

April 2001

The Developer as Artist – Grid Magazine

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Frederick and Laurie Samitaur Smith are originals. Although successful as developers, they downplay the business side of real estate. They discuss money manners only occasionally and only if pressed; the Cubists and the Renaissance painters are their table talk, not Sam Zell and Mortimer Zuckerman. While other developers might throw a Monte Carlo party, the Smiths’ idea of fun is to host a concert performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, followed by discussion. They consider themselves not developers so much as impresarios of architecture. The Smiths might seem quaint, even pretentious, were it not for their hard-won success in converting a dowdy industrial section of Culver City, into a hot commercial address and architectural tourist destination. To date, they have developed 1.3 million square feet of office and industrial space, at an undisclosed cost, mostly in the industrial northeast corner of Culver City, bordering west Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Their tenants include Sony, a division of AOL, Ogilvy & Mather and Kodak. The vacancy rate is 4%, and the rents, slightly above $2 per square foot per month, are competitive with nearby office space, if lower than fashionable Santa Monica. Their success has not only inspired related development in and around Culver City, it has also sparked imaginative conversions of other industrial outposts in the Los Angeles region.

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