Los Angeles Business Journal

Landmark Boyle Heights Sears Building Is Sold

By Bethany Firnhaber Tuesday, November 19, 2013

After more than six years of headaches and false starts, Santa Monica real estate company MJW Investments finally sold the historic Sears Roebuck & Co. tower in Boyle Heights.

Downtown L.A. multi-family real estate developer Izek Shomof bought the 23-acre property at 2650 E. Olympic Blvd. for $29 million in a sale that closed escrow Tuesday.

MJW, which acquired the property for $32.1 million in 2004, had planned a $500 million redevelopment project for the property that would bring hundreds of condos and apartments, as well as more than 700,000 square feet of retail space to the area.

In the end, however, the plans stalled and Mark Weinstein, president of MJW, said he was glad to be rid of the property – even if it cost him millions.

“It was a good business deal because it freed me up to do other things.”

MJW first put the property on the market in 2007 when the real estate market began to take a turn for the worse. L.A. boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya’s real estate company, Golden Boy Partners, agreed to buy the property for as much as $70 million, but later backed out of the deal.

Weinstein said a number of interested parties expressed interest in the property since then.

“We had several people go in and out of escrow with us for different reasons,” he said. “I think for a long time, retail was still weak, so people were scared. It’s a large project to undertake.”

The 1.8 million-square-foot property, built in 1927, served for decades as a mail-order fulfillment center for Sears. Though the building’s warehouse facilities have been vacant for years, a Sears department store on the ground floor remains one of the company’s best performing retail centers on the West Coast.