BROADWAY — A business park on the east end of Santa Monica will go through its fourth name change in two decades now that anchor tenant Yahoo! will no longer have its moniker on the building.
Equity Office, the owners of the business complex formerly known as the Yahoo! Center, applied to City Hall for new signage that will mark the establishment as the Colorado Center, a name it held in the early 1990s.
Why, exactly, the center is reinventing itself is up for speculation.
Equity Office officials hold that the name change was part of a rebranding effort that included input from both the tenants of the office space and the broader community.
“Based on that research, we renamed the property to Colorado Center and we believe the new identity will be well-received by the Westside business community,” said Brendan McCracken, vice president of leasing for Equity Office, in a statement.
However, according to those involved in local commercial real estate, the switch-up might have had more to do with the major shifts that the technology and media company has been undergoing in recent months.
According to a member of the Santa Monica Business Alliance, Yahoo! had reduced the size of its office space in the center below the threshold to get naming rights, and had to take its name off the building.
Yahoo! has been in turmoil for some time since its previous CEO, Carol Bartz, was fired in September 2011 and its current leader, Scott Thompson, has come under fire for allegedly lying about his computer science education.
In early April, before business publications broke that story last week, Thompson announced that Yahoo! would lay off approximately 2,000 people in an attempt to save $375 million.
In a release about the restructuring, Thompson referred to the actions as an “important next step toward a bold, new Yahoo! — smaller, nimbler, more profitable and better equipped to innovate as fast as our customers and our industry require.”
Equity Office would not comment on its tenant, and Yahoo! did not return multiple calls for comment.
According to a staff report that went before the Architectural Review Board last week, City Hall has been approached four times for signage changes relating directly to a new name for the complex.
In 1990, nine years after City Hall approved a development agreement to build the office park, the owners applied for signs denoting the complex as the MGM Plaza.
That lasted for two years before changing the signs to read Colorado Center, but in 1996 the board approved yet another change, this time to the MGM Center.
Yahoo! put its brand on the complex in 2005, and reigned uncontested until this year.
The center became the heart of controversy with its neighbors in recent years when it was discovered that the Yahoo! Center was improperly leasing out approximately 1,000 parking spaces to companies that didn’t rent offices there.
At the same time, those spaces played a role in getting Saint John’s Health Center out of its requirement to build a subterranean parking garage that it had promised City Hall 10 years ago as part of its agreement to rebuild after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.
The City Council backed off and agreed to allow the hospital to continue leasing parking at the center.