CIM to buy Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, scrap resi redevelopment plan

Capri Capital Partners nabbed approval to build nearly 1,000 residential units, but new buyer is going all-in on commercial uses

Shaul Kuba and the now-former redevelopment plan (Credit: Department of City Planning)
Shaul Kuba and the now-former redevelopment plan (Credit: Department of City Planning)

CIM Group has agreed to purchase the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall, and it has a very different vision for the property than the seller had.

The Los Angeles-based firm plans to scrap at least the residential portion of Capri Capital Partners’ massive redevelopment plan for the 40-acre property to add nearly 1,000 residential units, a hotel, office space, and more retail. Capri secured entitlements for the redevelopment, which would span 2.9 million square feet overall, in 2018.

CIM Group co-founder Shaul Kuba said in a statement that despite having entitlements in hand, the company believes “that residential uses are not suitable for this property and it should remain a commercial property in our repositioning.”

Kuba told the L.A. Times that his firm agreed to pay more than $100 million for the 869,000-square-foot mall and that CIM Group may convert a former Sears store and Walmart store at the mall to offices, but didn’t say what else could be carried over from Capri’s plan. A Macy’s store and an IHOP restaurant at the mall were not included in the sale.

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Capri, based in Chicago, bought the 1980s-era mall for $136 million in 2006, and spent an additional $35 million on improvements.

CIM Group joins a growing chorus of developers who see potential in converting former mall spaces into offices. Hudson Pacific Properties and Macerich are turning almost all of the former Westside Pavilion into offices and early last year leased the entirety of that space to Google.

GPI Companies is converting their portion of the Westside Pavilion into offices as well. Invesco and Seritage converted a former Sears department store in Downtown Santa Monica to offices.

Even smaller retail properties are eyed for conversions — the owner of an Encino strip mall filed plans to convert his property to offices last year.