California Market in Koreatown sells for $58M at bankruptcy auction

80K sf shopping center is home to 25 tenants; largest is namesake grocery store

450 S Western Ave #1, Los Angeles, CA 90020 (Google Maps, iStock)
450 S Western Ave #1, Los Angeles, CA 90020 (Google Maps, iStock)

Koreatown’s sprawling California Market has sold for $57.5 million in a bankruptcy court auction.

Dana Point-based Jake Sharp Capital bought the property at 350 South Western Avenue, according to the Commercial Observer. California Market totals 80,000 square feet and is 86 percent leased to 25 tenants.

Its namesake grocery store is the shopping center’s largest tenant. Pacific City Bank, Myungrang Hot Dog and BMB Medical are among the others.

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While grocery stores have remained open during the pandemic, they have been among the businesses hit hard. Overall, foot traffic was down this year among most large chains though online food orders surged. Shopping centers and malls with multiple tenants have been slammed, with many property owners falling behind on mortgage payments or handing in the keys to lenders.

California Market was owned by Hyun S. Rhee, widow of grocery chain founder Richard Rhee. He immigrated to the U.S. from Korea in 1959 and acquired the property in 1986, eventually expanding the brand.

Richard Rhee became a well-known and controversial figure in 1992 when he and employees armed themselves to defend the market during the riots.

Today, Koreatown is among the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the city. It’s been a center of development, both residential and commercial, over the last several years. [CO] — Dennis Lynch