“Homely” Historic Core fixer-upper seeks $20M

Developer Pouya Abdi and his partners bought it for $6.25M in 2014

Pouya Abdi from Parallel Acquisitions & Holdings and the Broadway Mall in Downtown Los Angeles. (credit: Google Maps)
Pouya Abdi from Parallel Acquisitions & Holdings and the Broadway Mall in Downtown Los Angeles. (credit: Google Maps)

The building is not exactly known as an architectural marvel. In 2014, when it sold to to developer Pouya Abdi, the Los Angeles Times called it “one of the homeliest buildings on Broadway.”

Now, the five-story building at 440 S. Broadway is back on the market for $20 million, more than triple what Abdi and his parters paid for it just three years ago.

Abdi, who heads Parallel Acquisitions purchased the 90,000-square-foot building in the Historic Core for $6.25 million in March 2014, along with Sunrise Real Estate’s Daniel Abrams and two other private investors. Back then, Abdi told the L.A. Times he planned to redevelop it into a “fashionable shopping destination.”

That transformation never materialized.

Now, Cushman & Wakefield is marketing the Downtown Los Angeles retail property as a redevelopment opportunity. The building is already entitled for two additional floors, or 22,000 square feet of space that could be used for creative office, retail, or residential space, according to marketing materials.

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“[The owners] painted the building and cleaned up some space, but [did] none of the heavy lifting,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Mike Condon Jr., who is shopping the property on behalf of the owners along with his colleagues Kelli Snyder and Yumi Goto.

That heavy lifting will be up to the buyer, whoever it may be. If a buyer secures different entitlements, the property could even be razed and developed into a high-rise tower, Condon said. An investor could also hold onto the building until the time was right for redevelopment, taking in cash from tenants in the meantime. But only after “putting some lipstick on the building first,” Condon said.

Renderings in the marketing package imagine a new, glass facade replacing its current faded brick look.

Asking prices are high — some say aspirational — in the Historic Core. Nearby, landlord Barry Shy is asking $100 million for a one-acre parking lot that’s entitled for a 38-story tower. A 452-unit rental complex with 25,000 square feet of retail space can be built on the site at 601 S. Main Street.

While the area, which neighbors Skid Row, is hardly a crane magnet like South Park, it has seen some recent development activity. At 755 S. Los Angeles Street, developer Urban Offerings is redeveloping the five-story Norton Building into 60,000 square feet of offices and 43,000 square feet of retail and restaurants.

Just up the block at Fourth Street and Broadway, SCG America, a subsidiary of China’s Shanghai Construction Group, is building a 34-story tower with 450 residential units and 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.