Across from the chic Melisse restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, a 23,500-square-foot property just traded hands for $16 million, or $680 a square foot.

A limited liability corporation called 11th and Wilshire purchased the site from Paragon Properties and plans to put a retailer or restaurant in the 10,000-square-foot storefront, replacing vintage auto showroom Cars With Class.

“Many people will be disappointed to see us move on, but heck, who knows, another five high-end restaurants may appeal to more people and allow another little bit of Santa Monica history and charm to get swallowed up by development,” said Grant Woods, owner of Cars With Class, which has been at the site for 20 years.

Woods, who has a month-to-month lease, said he does not expect to be able to relocate within Santa Monica, given that zoning regulations restrict sites for car dealerships.

The new owner will likely hike up rents to current market value according to Kennedy Wilson broker Ed Sachse, who represented the buyer and the seller. He was assisted by brokers Fred Cordova and Christine Deschaine.

The buyer isn’t planning changes for the rest of the site, which includes JP’s Sports Bar and Grill, Westside Mercedes, and a five-unit apartment building. But the brick façade, part of structures built in 1922 and 1927, is slated for a modern facelift.

“The property is in need of some tender, loving care,” Sachse said. “Wilshire Boulevard has been going through a great transformation. … It should have a number of gathering spots for the community to enjoy.”

Paragon, based in Santa Monica and comprising two family trusts, purchased the 11th Street and Wilshire Boulevard site decades ago. The partnership decided to sell so that the entities could proceed with separate investments, Sachse said.

Main Deal

A standalone office on Main Street in Santa Monica sold in an off-market deal for $10 million, or a sky-high $1,143 a square foot.

The 8,800-square-foot site was purchased by GRT Main Street, which is connected to Tooley Investments in Santa Monica.

Grant Newman, executive director at L.A. Realty Partners who represented the seller, said the company plans to make the site its headquarters after a renovation.

“It’s a unique building in that it’s a little jewel box with potential for a rooftop deck,” he said.

The seller, Main Street Law Building, leases space to several law firms. It opted to sell to take advantage of rising property values coinciding with the boom of the Silicon Beach technology and media industry, according to Newman.

“We are going to see an influx of demand as downtown Santa Monica and Venice Beach continue to fill up,” he said. “There’s not very much product – that’s part of why this sold at such a premium.”

Main Street Law Building was represented by PAR Commercial Brokerage in the sale of the property, which sits just a few blocks from the beach and last sold at least three decades ago.

Retail Flip

A West Adams retail center built in 1924 sold for $6.6 million, or $295 a square foot, to a buyer who plans to convert the 22,400-square-foot site into a senior day care center. The seller, West Hollywood’s Washington-Western, was represented by Parham Khoshbakhtian, senior vice president at NAI Capital. Buyer Emunah Investments, based in the Fairfax District, was represented by Specialized Realty Inc. The brick-clad property, located about two miles from USC near the 10 freeway, last sold in 2005 for $3.2 million. As a condition of the sale, NAI cleared out the retail tenants, including a flooring company and legal services business.

Building Up Broadway

SGC America, a subsidiary of Shanghai Construction Group, is proceeding with plans to build a 35-story building with 450 residential units and ground-floor retail at Broadway and Fourth Street downtown, according to permit applications filed with the city of L.A.’s Building and Safety Department. The project would raze the existing retail site, a low-slung building of 17,580 square feet packed with small tenants including a Chinese fast-food eatery, payday lender, and jewelry shop. SGC bought the 34,000-square-foot site from downtown’s Pacific Investment Group last year for more than $26 million.

Staff reporter Daina Beth Solomon can be reached at dsolomon@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 237.

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