Westwood Village has become a hotbed of development activity in recent months and that activity has prompted Malibu-based developer Larry Taylor to go on a buying spree.
Taylor, in partnership with a New York investment fund, has just bought several large commercial sites in Westwood Village, and he plans to buy much more.
The partnership, operating under the name CDC-Relpopco LLC, has bought three contiguous parcels totaling 35,000 square feet at the southwest corner of Weyburn Avenue and Westwood Boulevard for $10.35 million. Also purchased was the 19,000-square-foot La Salsa restaurant building at the corner of Lindbrook Drive and Westwood Boulevard for $5.7 million.
Escrow on both deals closed earlier this month.
The partnership has also signed a letter of intent to purchase 60,000 square feet of stores along the eastern block of Westwood Boulevard, starting at Weyburn Avenue and extending southward, said a source involved in the negotiations. That $17.5 million deal is expected to close in mid-August, the source said.
All the acquired properties will be managed by Taylor's Christina Development Corp., an investment, development and property management firm.
Several months ago, Taylor bought several properties along the west side of Westwood Boulevard, near Weyburn. The development company now controls more than half the western block of Westwood Boulevard between Weyburn and Kinross avenues.
Taylor did not return phone calls last week, but his assistant, Steve Fink, said Christina Development intends to retain the existing leases while it renovates the buildings.
One of the properties it now controls, a valet parking lot on Weyburn Avenue, might be developed into a retail center, Fink said.
"Westwood Village is going to be a very happening place," he said.
Taylor's 20-year-old real estate company also manages several properties along Montana Avenue in Santa Monica and on Olympic Boulevard in Beverly Hills, including Doheny Plaza and Beverly Palm Plaza.
Christina Development's interest in Westwood Village was piqued by the streetscape improvements now underway. Fink said the project is "giving the area the infrastructure it needs" and that the retail district is poised to shake off its years-long image problem.
Taylor's CDC-Relpopco partnership purchased all of the properties along Westwood Boulevard from the Borinstein family, which has been major landholder in Westwood Village since the 1960s.
The Borinsteins, who own and manage their properties through Westwood Village Development Company, also recently sold an option to buy the land underneath the Mann Regent and Mann Four-Plex theaters to CinamericaTheaters L.P., which owns Encino-based Mann Theatres.
Cinamerica plans to raze both those outdated Mann complexes and replace them with a 120,000-square-foot, 10-screen cineplex and retail center.
Al Fink (no relation to Steve Fink), general manager of the Borinstein's company, declined to comment on the recent sales. But he did say the family is considering selling more properties in the future.
The Cinamerica project is slated for the west side of the village, while over on the east side of the village, developer Ira Smedra's Arba Group plans to build a 437,000-square-foot project with restaurants, shops and a 13-screen theater complex.
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