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Agoura to get Hilton fund HQ

By   /   Monday, February 9th, 2009  /   Comments Off on Agoura to get Hilton fund HQ

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Though the massive Hilton Hotels Corp. will be moving out of Beverly Hills for the first time since 1969, the charitable arm of the legendary family business will remain close to the Tri-Counties.

The venerable hotel chain is moving to Washington, D.C. But the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, formerly headquartered in Century City, is making a much shorter move, taking its $4.3 billion in assets to Agoura Hills in the Conejo Valley.

The foundation purchased two parcels of land totaling 64 acres on Agoura Road in 2007 and has been in talks with the city of Agoura Hills ever since.

“The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is in the process of designing and undergoing entitlements toward that goal [of relocation],” Malibu-based Hilton project manager Frans Bigelow told the Business Times.

Agoura Hills Mayor Denis Weber said the city is honored that the Hilton Foundation is interested in building new environmentally friendly offices on the vacant properties, although Bigelow said the plan is still in the early phases.

“They’ve got the land and are now in the process of working with the city to determine what kind of building they want,” Weber said. “The intention is to make it a platinum-certified LEED building.”

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification is the industry standard for measuring building sustainability. Platinum is the highest certification level on the ranking system.

Weber said he and City Manager Greg Ramirez have met with the Hilton Foundation several times over the past few years to discuss plans for the new headquarters.

Ramirez said that although the Hilton Foundation has a general conceptual plan, it’s too early in the development process to comment on any specific details.

Mike Kamino, director of planning and community development in Agoura Hills, said the Foundation has yet to file an application with the planning department.

Weber said the planned location for the new headquarters looks out over the Conejo Valley from a location near Ladyface Mountain, where development is prohibited above the 1,100-foot elevation mark.

“They wanted something that was more rural and out of the city, and that’s what they got,” Weber said. “We’re very careful about what goes where in our city. We are happy and honored that the Hilton folks chose Agoura Hills.”

Weber continued: “Sometimes the word developer has this negative connotation, but they’ve been so nice to work with and they really care about how they’re perceived.”

Established in 1944 by hotel entrepreneur Conrad N. Hilton, the foundation remained relatively small until his death in 1979, when it was named the principal beneficiary of his estate.

Since its inception, the Hilton Foundation has awarded nearly $800 million and distributed over $600 million for charitable projects throughout the world.

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