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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Billionaire Nicolas Berggruen now plans restaurant at historic MacArthur Park property

The investor scrapped his previous intention to build an office-exhibition complex there
By Haru Coryne | December 28, 2018 12:00PM

2500 W. 7th Street and Nicolas Berggruen

More than a year after announcing ambitious plans to convert a historic MacArthur Park property into office-and-exhibition space, billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen seems to have changed his mind.

He now wants to build a restaurant there.

The original mixed-use plan described a salon-type atmosphere for the 20,000-square-foot Westlake Square building at 2500 W. 7th Street. It would include performance space and areas for “scholars and thought leaders” to sit and work, the Los Angeles Times reported in May.

Now, plans filed with the city Department of Building simply call for a “change of use for [a] ground floor restaurant.”

The plans also call for a major “seismic upgrade,” which might be because of the age of building. The Spanish Revival-style property dates back to 1924.

Berggruen had told the Times the project would serve as an outpost of his policy think tank, the Berggruen Institute, whose proposed new campus in West L.A. is still in development.

Representatives of the Berggruen Group did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

MacArthur Park has seen rents rise and development boom in recent years. The median price of a home has jumped from $640,000 to about $1 million. And a big planned project in nearby Westlake, dubbed The Lake on Wilshire, would include a 41-story apartment tower; a 14-story, 220-room hotel; and a five-story culture and performing arts center with an 850-seat theater.