Campbell Soup Co. sold its iconic factory in Sacramento — its oldest U.S. facility — to a partnership led by Los Angeles investment firm Hackman Capital Partners. The new owners plan to convert the 1.6 million square feet of space on 129 acres into a multi-use industrial park, the Merced Sun-Star reported. Campbell said in September 2012 it would shutter the Sacramento plant, built in 1947, along with a smaller New Jersey plant. The closures were part of a cost-cutting plan, which should save the company about $30 million annually by fiscal 2016, Campbell said. The Sacramento factory shutdown in July meant the loss of 700 blue-collar jobs. Community leaders see the plant’s acquisition as a much-needed boost to the struggling neighborhood. It comes equipped with some valuable assets, including “considerable sewer capacity and the ability to process 2 billion gallons of water a year,” the Sun-Star reported.
The much-anticipated Ace Hotel in Downtown L.A. opened its doors last month. The boutique hotel is a confluence of old and new. Built in 1927, its 14-story, 74,000-square-foot building, located at 929 South Broadway, housed the flagship theater of the famed United Artists studio, founded by Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and DW Griffith. In the late 1980s, when the downtown area was all but written off, the theater was converted into a Protestant church. Now at the edge of a revitalized downtown, it’s been turned into the 182-room hotel. Ace Group, which has six other locations, preserved iconic parts of the building, including its cathedral spires and a neon “Jesus Saves” sign on the back of the building, while adding its own distinct touches. According to the hotel website, the lobby, designed by Commune Group, features a large mural designed by Simon and Nikolai Haas, best known for their collaboration with Versace. Ace has also revived the original 1,600-seat theater, which will serve as a live-music performance space. Rooms range from small bedrooms to “Terrace Suites,” featuring 633 square feet of space, a kitchenette and private terrace.
Philadelphia hopes to have its first Land Bank in operation by the end of the year after Mayor Michael Nutter signed a law authorizing the effort to streamline the city’s system of turning over vacant properties. The Land Bank is designed to coordinate the repurposing of approximately 40,000 vacant buildings and lots, using powers such as flexible pricing to provide incentives for development and the ability to quickly acquire tax-delinquent properties. To begin operations, the Land Bank needs to incorporate, get city funding in the budget process and begin acquiring land from city agencies, according to Region’s Business. Philadelphia is the largest U.S. city to adopt a land bank, but not the first. Flint, Mich., Syracuse, N.Y., and St. Louis are among the cities that sponsor them, with mixed results.
Dominick’s Finer Foods, the nearly 90-year-old Chicago grocery chain, vacated all 57 of its remaining stores, leaving empty approximately 2.8 million square feet of retail space. Dominick’s parent, California-based Safeway Inc., said in October it would exit the Chicago market after struggling to turn around its business. It sold 15 stores before shuttering the rest: four to Jewel-Osco, a primary competitor, and 11 to Milwaukee-based Roundy’s Supermarkets. Mayor Rahm Emanuel assembled a task force comprised of community leaders to locate tenants for the vacant stores. The closures took place amid a stalling local real estate market. In the third quarter, the retail vacancy rate rose to 8.9 percent, up from 8.6 in the beginning of the year, according to a Chicago retail market report by CBRE. However, a recent report from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank showed the suburban Chicago retail market actually registered approximately 774,000 square feet of positive net absorption in 2013. “With the exception of some poorly located stores, a lot of these will be absorbed,” said Newmark senior managing director Jim Schutter. “But it will have a depressing effect on some of the rents in those areas.” Whole Foods and Art Van Furniture are rumored to be among the companies looking at the vacant spaces, he added.
Singer Katy Perry sold her three-acre Hollywood Hills home, which she shared with ex-husband and comedian Russell Brand. The 8,800-square-foot house went for $5.65 million, at a nearly $1 million loss, the L.A. Times reported. In 2011, Perry and Brand bought the seven-bedroom home for $6.5 million.
Leonardo DiCaprio finally sold his Malibu digs, more than a year after he listed the beachfront property at $23 million, Today reported. Last summer, “The Wolf of Wall Street” star relisted the seven-bedroom house at $18.9 million. It sold for $17.35 million at the end of the year.
Sheryl Crow relisted her solar-powered Tennessee ranch at $3.85 million, Today reported. This is the Grammy-winning singer’s third attempt to sell. She initially listed the estate at $7.5 million in 2010. A year later, the size of the lot was cut from 147 acres to 51 acres, while the asking price dropped by 40 percent. Crow’s property includes a 10,264 square foot main house and a 14-stall barn, as well as a pool with a waterfall.