It’s never a bad idea to build by-right.
That’s the notion behind a self-storage facility going up on a large lot in Chinatown just inside the Cornfield Arroyo-Seco Plan Area, or CASP.
A joint-venture between Barings and World Class Capital, a Texas firm, bought a 2.3-acre site at 1000 N. Main Street last May for $14.6 million. The partners are looking to exploit the demand for self-storage services, which has risen nationally, especially in big cities like L.A.
The 200,000-square-foot project, which will have three floors, doesn’t need a zoning variance and has been advancing through the permit process since last July, records show.
The city created the CASP in 2013 out of a distressed industrial zone straddling the Los Angeles River around Broadway, which included a massive brownfield site. New zoning allowed for creative office and residential uses along with “hybrid” industrial.
JLL marketed the property as an “opportunity to create an iconic space” and a “blank canvas,” according to a brochure from last year.
In the end, the site lent itself best to a storage building, according to Nicole Mihalka, who led the listing team.
“We were able to yield the highest value to a storage developer because they could build it by-right,” Mihalka said. “It’s the particular zoning of the site that constrained the pool of buyers.”
That’s because the Main Street site is inside CASP’s “Urban Center”—one of four sub-zones within the area—which only allows for a limited range of mostly commercial uses. “Urban Village,” for example, is more tolerant of residential use.
Other bidders pitched a variety of office, industrial, and mixed-use projects, Mihalka said, but those would have required some approval from the city.
Great Value Storage, a subsidiary of World Class, will operate the facility.
World Class wasn’t immediately available for comment.