Charles Co. shops ground lease on unbuilt South LA mixed-use project

Plans had called for a Target store, then were revised to include a large residential complex
By Natalie Hoberman | May 22, 2019 02:00PM

Arman Gabay and a District Square rendering

Arman Gabay and a District Square rendering

Charles Company appears to be stepping away from its proposed massive mixed-use project in South Los Angeles, after nearly a decade of planning and more than $30 million in city-awarded financial incentives.

The West Hollywood-based developer is now marketing the ground lease on the 6.5-acre site, The Real Deal has learned. Charles Co. would still own the land.

Marketing materials reveal plans call for a 544,337-square-foot residential building with 575 units. There would also be 88,000 square feet of retail, as well as 7,440 square feet of recreational space.

Listing broker Mike Condon Jr. of Cushman & Wakefield said while the owners are entertaining ground lease offers, they are “fully committed to developing the project regardless,” even if they “do not find the right deal at this time.”

Charles Co. declined to comment.

The recent development comes one year after Charles Co. was dealt a major setback, when federal prosecutors charged one of its co-founders, Arman Gabay, with bribing an L.A. County official in exchange for a business opportunity.

Prior to the legal troubles, the developer intended to build District Square, a two-story, 300,000-square-foot retail center at the site, located at 3670 Crenshaw Boulevard. Target, Ross and Marshalls were all expected to open stores at the site. After years of project delay, Target and other retailers eventually pulled out.

Last June, the developers filed plans for an amended District Square that would include about 575 multifamily units.

The once highly anticipated District Square project, which was approved in 2010, also fueled a deep divide in City Hall as it continued to receive government funding despite numerous delays. Combined, the project secured about $32 million in federal grants and loans.

The unbuilt project now has $6.3 million in federal loans in default.

The Los Angeles planning department is expected to approve the redesigned District Square project by month’s end.