For the past 10 months in Los Angeles real estate, no project has begun, no deal has closed, and no decision has been made without considering the pandemic.
When the dust cleared on 2020, only one retail property had traded for more than eight figures. Two of the largest deals were made in February and March, just before government shutdowns and the wider spread of the virus.
Even as retailers were allowed to reopen over the summer, shoppers did not quite flock to their favorite stores. Foot traffic at major retail corridors in L.A. was down 41 percent in June compared to the first week of March.
Retailers have been fighting restrictions where they can. The California Retailers Association in early November asked the state to share data justifying retail closures statewide. The group’s president, Rachel Michelin, warned that companies would “shut down or move out of California” in the first half of this year if the restrictions stayed in place.
They’ve only become more restrictive since.
Here were the five largest retail sales in Los Angeles County last year:
457-459 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills | Undisclosed buyer | $122M
More than a month after this deal closed, little is yet known about the buyer beyond its European origins.
The seller was a joint venture of Crown Equity and Ascendant Capital Partners, which purchased the 11,625-square-foot property for $96 million in 2018. It was the fourth priciest retail investment sale in L.A. County that year. The property is occupied by fashion houses Alexander McQueen and Brioni. Newmark represented both parties in the deal.
The 2020 deal was for a staggering $10,495 per square foot, although that isn’t unheard of on L.A.’s premier shopping stretch. The same year that Crown and Ascendant Capital bought the property, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy paid $11,001 per square foot for a corner property across Rodeo Drive, where the company plans to build a hotel.
Long Beach Marketplace, Long Beach | Mamo Real Estate | $67M
The second-largest deal of the year was actually a buyout. In early March, Santa Ana-based Mamo Real Estate acquired partner Pacific Castle’s stake in the nearly 800,000-square-foot Long Beach Marketplace to take full control of the property. The deal figures out to $883 per square foot.
The shopping center sits on the Pacific Coast Highway with tenants including Trader Joe’s, Corner Bakery, Ruby’s Diner, and California Pizza Kitchen. The March deal was the first time the property had sold since 2004, when it traded for $20.5 million.
7500-7516 W. Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood | Greystar | $62M
In July, Jerry Illoulian and Hekmat Hekmatravan sold four parcels at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and N. Gardner Street to Greystar. They total about 40,000 square feet and the deal figured out to $1,563 per square foot.
The properties are a series of small retail buildings, including a beauty supply store and a bookstore. The sellers were represented by Ravan Property Group.
6100 Canoga Avenue, Warner Center | Kaplan Management Company | $48M
If Kaplan follows through with its plans, this Warner Center big-box will be no more. The firm plans to demolish the 336,000-square-foot store to build a mixed-use complex. The seller was BLT Enterprises.
The property totals eight acres in a prime location in Warner Center, which underwent a rezoning several years ago for the purpose of developing it as a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use downtown district.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield recently received final city approval for its $1 billion Promenade 2035 project planned at the site of the former Westfield Promenade mall less than a mile north of Kaplan’s property.
780 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Exposition Park | Brandon Stevens Motors | $32.7M
Wichita, Kansas–based Brandon Stevens Motors entered the California market with the purchase of this 192,000-square-foot Honda dealership across from the L.A. Memorial Coliseum complex in July.
The dealership was developed by Joe Shuster, Sean Wolfington and Ted Bessen. They bought a bankrupt Honda dealership in Downtown L.A. in 2011 and the Exposition Park development site from the University of Southern California, then built the new building.