UPDATED, Oct. 23, 5:45 p.m. ET: Art and antiquities dealer Joel Chen gained fame for running a “browser’s paradise” –– and now he’s made a fortune on the sale of his Hollywood gallery.
Chen showed a knack for the art of the deal with the sale of the building that’s been home to JF Chen at 1000 North Highland Avenue in Hollywood for $31.5 million, according to data from PropertyShark. The deal included an adjacent half-acre parking lot, and Chen will continue to lease the gallery from the new owner.
The low-rise commercial building totals 21,270 square feet. The price comes to $1,481 per square foot –– on par with recent eye-catching deals such as the $153.2 million paid for The Post in Beverly Hills, a 102,500-square-foot renovated office complex that is almost fully occupied by concert promoter LiveNation.
Chen has been described as “one of L.A.’s most admired antiques dealers,” and also won plaudits in the art world. A personal collection of his and his wife, Margaret, sold at Christie’s at Rockefeller Center. A 2016 article from Los Angeles Magazine has described his gallery on North Highland as a “four-showroom browser’s paradise.”
The buyer of the gallery is 1000 Highland Owner LLC, an entity that has the same business address as Santa Monica-based investment firm Redcar Limited. The company, which focuses on what it deems to be under-performing properties, has a total of 58 projects in the Los Angeles area, with parcels scattered throughout the Eastside, Santa Monica and Culver City.
The company recently acquired the Dynasty Shopping Center in Chinatown for $29.5 million. One of its biggest assets is 10301-10335 West Jefferson Boulevard, a four-acre office complex in Culver City that it bought for $73.5 million in 2019.
Chen opened his first location on Melrose Avenue more than 40 years ago. He and his wife bought the property on Highland for $9.3 million in 2013, records show. He has another gallery two blocks away at 830 North Highland Avenue. Chen did not respond to a request for comment.
CORRECTION: This article originally stated that the JF Chen gallery at 1000 North Highland Avenue was closed. The gallery is open and will remain in operation there under terms of a lease agreement, according to Chen.