Developer Fred Afari has snatched up International Church of the Foursquare Gospel’s 15-property portfolio in Echo Park, paying nearly $18 million for the package.

The church, founded by evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson in 1923, put the properties on the market earlier this year and Afari, whose downtown L.A. firm Broadway & Eighth Investments converted the Chapman office building at 756 S. Broadway in downtown into luxury lofts, beat out 28 other bidders.

The portfolio includes nine multifamily properties totaling 65 units, two single-family homes, three land parcels and one warehouse building, all in close proximity to Echo Park Lake.

The three vacant lots are on Glendale Boulevard, Elsinore Street and Park Avenue, and sources familiar with the deal said Afari would develop high-end multifamily properties on the sites. He also plans to upgrade existing multifamily buildings, which are 96 percent occupied, as units become available. Rents are expected to increase once buildings are renovated.

Neither Afari nor Foursquare representatives could be reached for comment.

The church still owns property in Echo Park including an eight-story Citibank office building at 1900 Sunset, which serves as its headquarters and is the tallest building in the neighborhood, and the Angelus Temple at 1100 Glendale.

DTZ’s Lee Black represented the buyer and seller in the transaction, along with Yvonne Ayala, Doug Scott, Jeffrey Morgan and Patrick Morgan.

“The Echo Park Lake area is experiencing a tremendous revitalization effort right now, with very low vacancy, making it an opportune time for refurbishment and new ground-up development,” Black said. “This mixed portfolio offers all of that and thus the investor interest was fantastic.”

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.