As developers continue to descend upon Koreatown, betting on the area as a hot residential market, the neighborhood is set to lose many Korean businesses to the redevelopment process.
More than a dozen will vacate when the area’s most well-known mall, which consists entirely of Korean retailers and restaurants, is redeveloped.
Mid-Wilshire developer Harridge Development Group purchased the Wilshire Galleria last month for $49 million. It paid $353 a square foot for the 138,000-square-foot retail building on 2.1 acres of land at 3240 Wilshire Blvd. to seller Han Kook Property Management Co., which has its office inside the property.
Harridge is considering several mixed-use redevelopment ideas, said Chief Executive David Schwartzman. He said the firm has discussed a multifamily-focused complex as well as one with both hotel and residential units.
The Galleria is roughly 50 percent occupied, mostly by retailers such as Tom Tom’s Coffee, which are on short-term leases, with the exception of Nature Spa, which has a longer-term deal that Harridge will build around. All other tenants will have to vacate, with the exception of the spa, when their leases end in 2017, Schwartzman said.
He stressed that Harridge’s reuse plan will maintain the historic character of the all-marble former I. Magnin department store building, which was designed by esteemed architect Myron Hunt in the late 1930s. I. Magnin closed in 1993, due to the downturn and the 1992 riots, which resulted in $10 million worth of damage to the store and steered customers away. The Koreatown Galleria opened soon after.
“The building is a masterpiece,” Schwartzman said, citing the vibrancy of Koreatown, the most densely populated district of Los Angeles, as another reason for Harridge’s interest.
The firm is also building a recently approved mixed-use project that includes 100 small-lot homes in Frogtown, and submitted plans in May for a massive redevelopment of the Crossroads of the World site in Hollywood.
Johnny Choi of CBRE Group Inc. as well as Curtis Palmer and Anthony Muhlstein of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank represented the buyer and the seller in the Galleria transaction.
Real estate is in the blood of Mike Condon Jr., 32, an associate at the downtown L.A. office of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. – and yet he avoided the family profession for as long as possible.
After college, he involved himself in other pursuits such as get-rich-quick Internet startups and even worked at a Guess Inc. store in the South Bay Galleria selling jeans.
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