The Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel, a Studio City landmark, has been sold.

Local real estate investor and developer Richard Weintraub has purchased the hotel and nine acres of surrounding property at 12825 Ventura Blvd. for about $50 million.


The deal with property owner Daledo Co. LLC is expected to close around July 1. Daledo is controlled by the Harlings, a family of real estate investors, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.


Weintraub, president of Weintraub Financial Services Inc., confirmed the purchase, but declined to comment further.


However, sources familiar with the deal said that Weintraub plans to renovate the existing hotel and add retail space. The project would retain the Sportsmen's Lodge name, and would be renovated to evoke the "mid-century cool" of the San Fernando Valley in the 1950s. As much as 300,000 square feet of retail space could be built.


However, in the short term, it appears that the 200-room hotel on Coldwater Canyon Avenue north of Ventura Boulevard will continue to operate in its current form as a lodging, restaurant and banquet facility.


"I'm sure, eventually, grander plans may take form, but we believe for now it will be kept a hotel and convention facility. There are no plans to make it a strip mall," said Steven Scheck, the hotel's general manger.


Any remodel of the property could face opposition from local homeowners who already eye the traffic-choked area near the hotel with concern.


Richard Close, president of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, said while it is good news that the landmark hotel will remain, new development will further ensnarl traffic.


"It is clear the developer is not paying that amount of money to operate the property as a hotel as it currently is situated," said Close, also a land use attorney at Gilchrist & Rutter Professional Corp. "The bad news is the traffic in that area is already at a standstill. The intersection of Coldwater Canyon and Ventura is a major route to the Westside."


Close said that the redevelopment of the hotel has been discussed by locals for decades. "It is a major piece of real estate in the east valley," he said.


Weintraub's Malibu-based company specializes in commercial and residential development and investing.


The ownership group that includes the Harling family did not return calls seeking comment.


Long Beach Deal

Ensemble Investments LLC, a Phoenix-based real estate firm, has purchased two office buildings on downtown Long Beach's Pine Avenue, increasing its presence there.


The firm has purchased the City Centre building at 200 Pine Ave. and the L'Opera building at 115 Pine Ave. from seller Blue Real Estate in a deal that closed in early May. In total, the sale of the two buildings is valued at about $21 million.


Ensemble, a real estate development, investment and management firm, owns other buildings in downtown Long Beach, including the Coast Long Beach Hotel and an office building at 110 Pine Ave. for a total of 450,000 square feet.


The company has been investing in Long Beach for about a decade and purchased the two office buildings because of the potential for rent growth, according to Kam Babaoff, managing director of Ensemble.


"We like that it is downtown by the beach," Babaoff said. "It has been revitalized with quite a bit of retail coming in, and there is a lot of new residential. It is going to become a 24/7 downtown. It is a good place to live and work."


The 200 Pine Ave. building is a six-story Class B office property with about 69,500 square feet of space. The other building at 115 Pine Ave. is a 1906 office property with about 69,000 square feet of space. The six-story Class A property features a well-known bell tower and is on local and national historic registries.


Class A Long Beach rents are in the $1.50 to $1.70 per foot per month range and 115 Pine Ave. currently has rental rates on the low end of that spectrum, said Bob Safai of Madison Partners, who represented both sides of the deal.


"It's an opportunity to find value in a market that really is hard to find value in not only from a price per square foot standpoint but also in terms of appreciation for rent," Safai said.


Blue Real Estate did not return calls seeking comment.


Staff reporter Daniel Miller can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 263, or dmiller@labusinessjournal.com.

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