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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Former “Homeless Billionaire” bags MacArthur Park building for think tank

Nicolas Berggruen is already building another facility for the institute in the SaMo Mountains
May 16, 2017 10:30AM

Nicolas Berggruen (Credit: Getty)

Philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen’s public policy think tank, the Berggruen Institute, has acquired a 1924-built two-story structure in MacArthur Park.

The purchase is just the latest in Los Angeles for the man formerly known as the “homeless billionaire” for his preference for globe-trotting without a permanent address. Last year, Berggruen acquired 450 acres of land west of the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass for $45 million for the institute’s main headquarters on the Westside.

“What we’re building in the mountains is a fairly quiet place,” Berggruen told the Los Angeles Times. “We wanted another location that will be better for public engagement.”

The investment titan also spent $40 million to buy the former home of socialite Edith Mayer Goetz in Holmby Hills earlier this year, The Real Deal first reported.

Berggruen has tapped Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano to renovate the MacArthur Park structure, according to the Times. He said the new location will be good for the the institute’s public engagement and estimates it will open in two years, well before the Westside campus, which could take six years to finish.

“I felt that if we’re going to be on the Westside, we should really make a commitment to another part of Los Angeles. And my feeling, strongly, was that we should be east-facing, near downtown,” he said.

Berggruen’s new property, on the corner of W. 7th and Carondelet streets, is currently occupied by a letterpress company, a small bookstore, and a mini-mart. [LAT]Cathaleen Chen