MWest Holdings buys DTLA’s San Fernando building for $37M

DTLA pioneer Tom Gilmore and the San Fernando building at 400 South Main Street (credit: Wikipedia, Loopnet)
DTLA pioneer Tom Gilmore and the San Fernando building at 400 South Main Street (credit: Wikipedia, Loopnet)

As Downtown Los Angeles continues its renaissance, developers are looking to a new class of properties — historic buildings that have already been rehabbed.

Take the San Fernando Building, for instance, at 400 South Main Street. MWest Holdings recently acquired it for $37 million, the L.A. Times reported. Despite the fact that developer Tom Gilmore had already rehabbed the historic office tower into residential lofts in 2000, MWest has plans to upgrade the century-old building again.

The new owner plans to spend $2 million to add a gym and a lounge area, as well as to repaint the facade and renovate the units.

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“We are going to see more and more of this as the market continues to mature and becomes more sophisticated,” Carol Schatz, president of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District and Central City Association, told the Times.

Developers will put more money into properties because the nearly 20-year-old renovations cannot compete with brand new developments Downtown. But there’s another reason: there aren’t that many untouched historic structures left for housing conversions.

The city’s Office of Historic Resources manager Ken Bernstein told the Times that 76 buildings downtown had been rehabbed under the city’s 1999 adaptive reuse ordinance in the past six years alone. These conversions have created more than 9,100 new housing units, and brought with them a slew of bars and restaurants. [LAT]Cathaleen Chen