NYC developer Ben Shaoul buys into neighborhood retail in Baldwin Hills

Pays $37.3M for grocery-anchored center across from vacant 5-acre parcel he owns

Ben Shaoul and Baldwin Hills mall (Watt Companies, iStock)
Ben Shaoul and Baldwin Hills mall (Watt Companies, iStock)

New York developer Ben Shaoul has acquired a Baldwin Hills retail center for $37.3 million, The Real Deal has learned.

The 103,903-square-foot property at 5060 Obama Boulevard is called the Baldwin Hills Shopping Center and anchored by a Ralphs grocery store. Its proximity to the intersection of La Brea Avenue and Rodeo Road puts it squarely amid a longstanding bastion of Black upper- and middle-class households known as the “Black Beverly Hills” of Los Angeles.

The seller is Santa Monica-based developer Watt Companies.

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A representative for Shaoul said the property will remain a retail center. JLL has been hired to find a tenant for a vacant 27,175-square-foot space right next to the Ralphs, according to a listing by the brokerage.

Shaoul is funding the acquisition with a $65 million mortgage from Madison Realty Capital. He bundled the Obama Boulevard property with another asset he owns at 5035 Coliseum Street, a vacant five-acre site that’s located across the street from the mall. Shaoul bought that site from the Pacific Bell Telephone Company for $18.2 million in 2019. The new mortgage involved amending the original $22 million loan on the Coliseum Street property to add $43 million to the total amount.

Earlier this month, Shaoul’s Magnum Real Estate Group filed a permit application for a 376-unit apartment complex at 1457 North Main Street near Downtown Los Angeles. The proposal for that property, which sits on a 56,454-square-foot lot, calls for a six-story building with 6,448 square feet of commercial space. The residential portion of the property would be 149,776 square feet, divided between 300 market-rate units and 76 affordable units.

Magnum Real Estate Group focuses on condo conversions, new construction residential condos and multifamily rentals. The firm’s portfolio is valued at $4 billion, according to its website. It was recently in the news for seeking Bitcoin as payment in exchange for a $29 million portfolio consisting of three retail condominiums in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park.