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Los Angeles-From his office on the 24th floor in downtown Los Angeles, John Whitaker can see the popular rooftop bar of The Standard Hotel. “It was the first bar that really attracted people to come downtown,” said Whitaker, a partner at DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary. That was four years ago. Now, about a dozen law firms, including DLA Piper, Latham & Watkins and O’Melveny & Myers, are drafting real estate and financing contracts for scores of condominium developments, retail stores and other construction projects filling the landscape of downtown Los Angeles, where most of them have their law offices. Much of the legal work surrounds two recently announced projects: A $2 billion sports-entertainment complex jointly developed by Anschutz Entertainment Group and KB Home, and a $1.8 billion residential and retail project spearheaded by The Related Cos., the New York-based developer of Time Warner Center in New York City. “The whole downtown development is a very active practice right now, and it’s keeping me very busy,” Whitaker said. His firm, DLA, represents Related. The sports entertainment complex, called L.A. Live, features, among other things, a 7,100-seat Nokia Theater, a 15-screen movie theater, West Coast broadcasting facilities for ESPN and the Grammy Museum. Earlier this month, Anschutz Entertainment Group, or AEG, announced that a Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Marriott Marquis would provide hotel rooms at the site, which is near the Los Angeles Convention Center and Staples Center, home to the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. Ted Fikre, executive vice president and general counsel of AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Denver firm owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, said about a half-dozen law firms have been retained for L.A. Live. “This project is more complex and is more multifaceted than our usual facility developments,” he said. Much of the land use work is being handled by Latham & Watkins. William F. Delvac, a partner in Latham’s Los Angeles office, said that he and about three other lawyers are busy obtaining approvals for specific parts of the L.A. Live project, such as the Nokia Theater. “It doesn’t seem to have run out of new and creative and important things to do,” he said. Other firms hired by AEG on the L.A. Live project include Denver-based Holme Roberts & Owen, and O’Melveny & Myers, whose lead lawyer on the project, Gregory Thorpe, is negotiating with ESPN, Fikre said. KB Home, which is building condominiums on the site, is being represented by Los Angeles-based Munger, Tolles & Olson. The other project, located on Grand Avenue near Walt Disney Concert Hall, features a pedestrian-friendly complex with towers designed by architect Frank Gehry. Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker has been retained by Related Cos. to handle the financing of the Grand Avenue project, said Derek Smith, a partner in the firm’s real estate group. He said the firm has represented Related in many of its joint ventures.

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