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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Shanghai banker plans 115-unit complex in Pasadena

James Li bought the site for about $11M in 2015, his broker said
By Cathaleen Chen | January 05, 2017 02:25PM

James Li and a rendering of his proposed project at 711 Walnut Street

A private investor is planning a 115-unit mixed-use complex in Pasadena, The Real Deal has learned.

James Li, the CEO of Shanghai banking firm E.J. McKay & Co., wants to build a five-story structure on Walnut Street between Molino and Oak Knoll Avenues. 

The development would have 14,000 square feet of commercial space, Li’s broker, Roobik Ovanesian of Cranbook Realty, told TRD. Li would develop the project with a partner, but Ovanesian declined to name the firm involved.

Li purchased the project site for roughly $11 million last year, CoStar shows. It’s occupied by one four-story Class C office building on the east and several low-level office structures on the west.

The units would either be rentals or for sale, depending on market conditions when the project is completed, Ovanesian said. Li has several Pasadena multifamily projects in the works and one complete development under his belt — an 18-unit on South Marengo Avenue.

Because of Pasadena’s strenuous entitlement process,  it will be at least three years until the Walnut Street project reaches completion, Ovanesian said.

While Li’s company is based in China, he lives in the Pasadena area.