CIM Group plans on buying the 869,000-square-foot Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall in Los Angeles for more than $100 million and could add office space to the regional shopping center.
The seller is Capri Urban Investors, a private equity fund managed by Chicago-based Capri Capital Advisors, which bought the mall in 2006 for $136 million and spent $35 million in upgrades, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the news of the pending sale.
The Los Angeles-based firm, which is a real estate owner, operator, developer and lender, will not be acquiring the Macy’s and IHOP assets at the 40-acre property located at Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards in the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw submarket. The sale does include two former anchors, Sears and Walmart, which had already closed before the COVID-19 outbreak caused most of the mall stores except Albertson’s supermarket and some exterior restaurants to shut down. The two stores have a total of 300,000 square feet. CIM Group Principal & Co-Founder Shaul Kuba has stated there is an opportunity to reposition the two vacant anchor spaces and does see creating offices as an option. A Metro light rail subway station is expected to open at the intersection later this year.
While Kuba feels the longtime shopping center can be repositioned, he said in a prepared statement he does not believe residential uses are suitable for the property. In 2018, the current owner had received city approvals to add 2 million square feet to the site, including apartments, condominiums, a 400-room hotel, office space and more stores. Kuba said he prefers to keep commercial uses on the site, which has been a commercial property dating back to 1947, rather than adding residences. “We have the opportunity to bring a fresh perspective to the future of the property viewed through the lens of the current climate and the acceleration of the already declining retail environment,” Kuba said.
Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza is centrally located in the Los Angeles metro area. It is midway between downtown Los Angeles to the east, Santa Monica to the west, Beverly Hills and Hollywood to the north, and Inglewood to the south. The new Metro stop is on the Crenshaw/LAX line that connects downtown Los Angles to the Los Angeles International Airport. If CIM proceeds with adding office space to the mall, it would not be the only shopping center in the Los Angeles area to do so. The former Westside Pavilion mall in West Los Angeles is being redeveloped into a 584,000-square-foot creative office campus called One Westside by Hudson Pacific Properties and Macerich. Google signed a 14-year lease in January 2019 for the entire space and is expected to move in by 2022.
Active in LA
Last month, the firm sold Elevate, a four-story, 147-unit apartment and retail building at 1515 S. Granville Ave. in West Los Angeles. The sale also included The Westgate Collection, three smaller, four-story buildings with a total of 37 apartments on parcels to the south of Elevate. The development has about 42,000 square feet of ground-floor retail including Target, Healthy Spot pet store and an AKT Fitness studio.
In September, CIM completed construction of Prizma, a 169-unit, seven-story apartment building on the northeast corner of La Brea Boulevard and Willoughby Avenue in Hollywood’s Media District. The property also has about 33,000 square feet of ground floor retail.
Last summer, CIM sold the 463,000-square-foot retail portion of the Hollywood & Highland complex at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. to DJM Capital Partners and Gaw Capital USA for $325 million. CIM retained ownership of the 180,000-square-foot Dolby Theatre, which serves as the venue for the Academy Awards.