The wealthy residents of Hancock Park once shopped at Bullocks Wilshire and I. Magnin. Today, Bullocks Wilshire is a law school and the I. Magnin in Mid-Wilshire will soon be home to a bowling alley.
A bowling alley?
A group of local investors is converting the vacant I. Magnin property on Wilshire Boulevard near Vermont Avenue to a mix of retail shops, offices, and yes, a bowling alley, according to Jeonj Koo, the property's general manager. Renamed the Wilshire Galleria, the 140,000-square-foot building is now undergoing a $10 million renovation that should be completed by year's end, Koo said.
The first floor will have an optical store, sports accessory store, jewelry shop, coffee shop and hair salon. The second and fifth floors will have offices and the third floor will house a private club, Koo said. An eight-lane bowling alley, restaurant and billiard hall is planned for the fourth floor. A swimming pool will be constructed in the basement, he said.
It may seem an odd fate for the once-haughty store. But the building has been vacant for about a decade, and neighboring businesses and residents will likely be pleased to see it come back to life again even without the couture dresses.
"We'd definitely welcome renovations of historic buildings," said Gary Russell, executive director of the Wilshire Center Business Improvement Corp.
"I. Magnin is another example of people investing in the area."
Mae West's address
Not far from the I. Magnin property, the Ravenswood Apartments in Hancock Park were sold for close to their list price of $8.1 million, said Karoline Sauls, senior vice president with Sperry Van Ness.
Built in the 1920s, the seven-story, Art Deco building was home to a series of fabled tenants, Sauls said including actress Mae West, the late Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley and Clark Gable.
The 100-unit building sits near the Wilshire Country Club on Rossmore Avenue. The limited partnership that owned the property recently invested $1 million to restore it to its 1930s splendor.
The building's proximity to Hollywood makes it a magnet for entertainment industry workers and others, who pay $1,275 and up for a one-bedroom unit. The building also has a courtyard pool and underground parking.
Sauls refused to disclose the buyer.
Playa architects picked
Playa Capital Group has chosen nine architectural firms to create the 13 residential designs to be used in Playa Vista's first phase.
The firms are: Backen, Arrigoni & Ross and Hood Miller Associates of San Francisco; Steinberg Associates of San Jose; Scheurer Architects and Robert M. Hidey Architects of Newport Beach; McLarand, Vasquez & Partners of Costa Mesa; Moore Ruble Yudell and Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh of Santa Monica and Berkus Design Studio & B3 Architects of Santa Barbara.
According to Playa Capital, the firms were selected based on their ability to come up with cutting-edge designs. No single style will represent the community's architectural theme.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for late spring for phase one, which will involve more than 3,200 housing units, 3.6 million square feet of commercial space and wetlands restoration.
Kennedy-Wilson International has been active lately in Japan. The real estate investment and marketing firm, which has an affiliate in Japan, brokered the sale of an office building in Tokyo's central business district.
Kennedy-Wilson, a public company based in Santa Monica, acted as the broker in the transaction on behalf of a U.S. opportunity fund. The building was constructed in the late 1980s and was at one time valued at five times its selling price of $12 million, said Richard Mandel, president of the company's commercial group.
The property is expected to yield about 8 percent, he said.
Macerich mall deals
Santa Monica-based Macerich Co. signed 90 leases for 210,319 square feet of space in REIT-owned shopping centers around the country during the first quarter of 1998.
Fifty-four new leases and 36 renewals including two expansions and two relocations were among the deals signed during the three months ended March 31 for the malls and community centers owned in whole or part by the Macerich Limited Partnership.
A new Web site provides next-day notice of default and trustee sale listings, AM Holding International announced.
The Web site, Daily Foreclosures For Less (www.amholding.com), allows prospective home buyers to access detailed information on the 1,500 to 2,000 properties being foreclosed on each week in Southern California.
AM Holding, a real estate services and investment company headquartered in Lakewood, created the site as a low-cost alternative to daily publications that provide notice of default and trustee sales listings, said President Alon Doron. The monthly subscription fee is $50. A search engine allows buyers to search for homes by area, price range or type of property.
News and notes
Westmac Commercial Brokerage Co. has been busy in Santa Monica lately.
The firm announced two office leases, one a renewal, the other a new transaction, for space in the four-story office building at 1919 Santa Monica Blvd. The combined value is $2 million.
State Farm Insurance renewed its three-year lease for 23,127 square feet for its claims and underwriting offices. The firm has occupied slightly more than half the building's rental space since 1992.
And McGuire Environmental Consultants established its new corporate headquarters in a 1,613-square-foot suite on the third floor.
David Thurman, Luke Palmo and Tim Macker of Westmac represented lessor Arden Realty and CB Richard Ellis represented State Farm.
In a separate transaction, James Stanfill, an office specialist with Westmac, represented all parties in the $1.1 million sale by the Howroyd Trust of Glendale of a 7,000 square foot office building and its 7,500-square-foot site at 1323 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica. It sold to the Efraim Trust of Los Angeles.
By the way, last week's mention of a $95.8 million sale of downtown Glendale property from a group of corporate pension funds to the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio neglected to mention that broker Bill Boyd assisted in the deal. He was with CB Commercial at the time and now is with Grubb & Ellis.
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