“Mayor of Melrose” buys WeHo storefront for a “ridiculous” $4,500 psf

Luxury rug designer Benjamin Soleimani paid $15M for a Melrose Ave retail space

Apr.April 04, 2017 02:30 PM
Benjamin Soleimani and his rugs, and the storefront at 8632 Melrose Avenue

Rug maker and part-time developer Benjamin Soleimani ponied up $15 million for a 3,328-square-foot retail space on Melrose Avenue, according to multiple sources.

That amounts to about $4,507 per square foot — “a ridiculous number for a sale like that,” according to a retail broker not involved in the deal.

But Cushman and Wakefield’s Carter Magnin said he isn’t surprised, considering the average asking rent of the surrounding retail properties, which house brands like Rag & Bone and APC.

“The price tag is only ridiculous at a surface level,” said Magnin, who was not part of the sale. “Average asking rent in [the West Melrose area] is about $240 per square foot right now, so when you extrapolate over 10, 20 years, the price isn’t far off. And most landlords here are long-term holders”

The space at 8632 Melrose Avenue was a showroom for Murphy’s Iron Works, a company that makes and sells iron furniture. Built in 1924, it was owned by the Steven Leisner Trust, according to property records. Soleimani made the purchase through the entity, Melrose Estates, LLC.

Soleimani, once dubbed by the Los Angeles Times as the “Mayor of Melrose,” owns more than a handful of similar storefronts nearby, on the five-block stretch of Melrose between La Cienega and San Vicente. His holdings include his upscale furniture store, Restoration Hardware, at 8564 Melrose Avenue.

Soleimani and his development firm, BMB Investments, ran into trouble with the proposed expansion of Restoration Hardware a couple years ago, when WeHo resident objected to potential noise and light disruptions because of the project called for a rooftop event venue. The city’s Planning Commission ultimately approved the project in 2013, however, and denied the subsequent appeal.

Soleimani could not be reached for comment.

“There’s no secret that there’s been uncertainty in retail national and globally,” Magnin said, “but there are only a handful of streets where these contemporary hip brands want to be. And Melrose is one of them.”

Related Articles

LA promo

Coming Soon: The Real Deal Los Angeles’ Winter 2020 issue!

From left: Howard Schwimmer and Michael S. Frankel, with 1601 W. Mission Boulevard and 2757 E. Del Amo Boulevard (Credit: Google Maps)

Rexford Industrial adds to LA portfolio with $100M in acquisitions

Andrew McDonald and At Mateo in the Arts District

Cushman’s West Coast chief talks expansion, DTLA market, the death of the starving baby broker & more

3339 Exposition Blvd. and Asher Luzzatto

Luzzatto Co. assembling creative office hub in West Adams

Jason Illoulian and the Cemex plant

Faring makes $30M assemblage play on WeHo/LA border

From left: Nuveen CEO Vijay Advani, Graymark founder/CEO Brian Hecktman

Graymark, Nuveen pay $97M for El Segundo creative office

From left: A San Fernando Valley retail center and a Forever 21 near downtown LA (Credit: iStock)

Greater LA retail market struggles to recover from big box closures, bankruptcies

La Mirada industrial building

Clarion pays $77M for La Mirada industrial project