After originating in Van Nuys and spending decades headquartered in Sherman Oaks, Agora Realty & Management is moving to the Park Calabasas campus this fall.
Agora is currently renovating an 18,000-square-foot office building where it will relocate its corporate headquarters by October. From Conejo Valley, Agora will continue to manage its portfolio of retail centers, which are strewn throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Washington, Texas and Hawaii.
The new workspace at 4500 Park Granada in Calabasas will be designed around the impact of COVID, to include separated desks, an expansive common area, touchless fixtures and enhanced HVAC air purification. In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, the firm will also add solar panels to the roof with battery back for storage and emergency power usage. Agora will also add electric charging stations in the parking areas.
“We wanted to move the headquarters closer to where we live,”’ said the company’s founder and Chief Executive Cary Lefton.
Working on the Agora team are Lefton’s sons, Chief Operating Office Ryan Lefton and Director of Acquisitions Aaron Lefton.
The West Valley resident joked about the hardship of segueing “from parenting to mentoring,” but in fact, his sons have been with the company for about seven years.
At Plaza del Valle, Agora has incorporated micro-sites into its retail centers — between 100- and 300-square-foot spaces ideal for startups and small restaurant operators. For the food services, the micro sites are ready to go so the operators just move in.
Plaza del Valle at 8610 Van Nuys Blvd. in Panorama City is one of the firm’s most successful plazas, replete with fully realized Latino-themed architectural touches and modeled after plazas seen in Latin countries. It features more than 100 vendor spaces for small business, each designed to optimize the sales area.
Agora also added cultural amenities, which included murals, fountains, benches, lamp posts, mariachis, bandstand, food court and landscaping. The site recently won an award for commercial real estate from the Business Journal.
Another North L.A. asset for Agora Realty is Zocalito of Pacoima, also has micro-sites for small food operators and retailers.
In Las Vegas, where Agora owns Fiesta Plaza, the company is currently celebrating the cementing of two leases: a Denny’s restaurant and an Ace Hardware, the latter of which it is currently working on façade renovations as the business works on tenant improvements. The firm plans to add a community plaza similar to its successful experiment in Panorama City, providing micro-sites for startups, small restaurateurs and retailers.
Lefton said that the out-of-the-box approach to working with its struggling tenants during the pandemic year led to the company losing not one tenant as the virus situation begins to lift.
Agora possesses a pair of Thousand Oaks plazas in its portfolio: Mason Devonshire Plaza; and the recently acquired Plaza Hillcrest, located at 11-25 E. Hillcrest Drive and Moorpark Road.
“This is a former Office Depot property that we are repositioning as a grocery-anchored center,” Lefton said. “Grocery anchored properties are the most desirable as acquisitions.”