When Barry Goldfarb needs a change of scenery, he can drive a half-hour from his Bel Air home to the 90-acre Agua Dulce estate in Santa Clarita. More than a retreat, Agua Dulce is L.A.’s largest vineyard and winery. Now, it’s for sale.

Goldfarb, a 25-year wine industry veteran, purchased the site six years ago when it was in poor shape and on the point of foreclosure. He spent close to seven figures on upgrades in addition to purchasing wine-making equipment, barrels, and a bottling plant. Now 70, he said he wants to lighten up a little while continuing to operate his two other wineries, one in Paso Robles and the other in Santa Barbara.

He listed the site with Partners Trust Commercial brokers Dario Svidler and Robert Morton and is asking $12.8 million.

Agua Dulce comprises a vineyard with six varietals; ranch for livestock; 4,400-square-foot home with 1,100-square-foot guest house; 10,500-square-foot wine barrel warehouse; and a 9,300-square-foot winery, tasting room, and retail space. The buyer would also end up with more than $1.15 million in “inventory” as well as the chance to attract TV and film shoots.

Svidler and Morton are casting a wide net for buyers, looking within the wine business, entertainment industry, and Chinese investor community.

“There’s such a demand from Chinese investors to buy properties like this that are something they can grow and be a calling card for them in Los Angeles,” Svidler said.

Whoever ends up at Agua Dulce, Goldfarb hopes it will be someone who values the family business he built with his son and daughter.

“It could be the ego buyer who wants a winery, a strategy buyer, or someone who wants to learn about the wine business and get into it,” he said.

Hollywood Bet

A Chicago company is joining the flood of developers building hotels in Hollywood. Oxford Capital Group recently purchased a one-story office building on North Cahuenga Boulevard that it plans to replace with a seven-story luxury hotel.

The site traded for $16.5 million, according to a source familiar with the deal. That’s more than twice the $8.3 million that Hollywood-based hospitality development firm Five Chairs paid for the property in December. What pushed up the value? Five Chairs secured entitlements to build a hotel, said Sarang Peruri, a principal at Oxford.

“That helped us get comfortable with making the bet here,” he said.

The project will be the company’s first foray in Los Angeles. Oxford plans to open the hotel under its four-star Godfrey brand, modeled on sister sites in Chicago and Boston. The plan is to build about 200 rooms that integrate cutting-edge technology. One feature will be the ability to check in via phone and go straight to the room, bypassing the front desk. Peruri also plans for the hotel to boast a stylish restaurant and rooftop pool.

“This part of Hollywood, we think is really on the verge of taking off,” Peruri said, noting that a Dream hotel is slated to open just a couple of blocks away on Selma Avenue. The site is also around the corner from the ArcLight movie theater and down the street from record store Amoeba Music.

Oxford is now looking for another L.A. acquisition, perhaps in downtown or West Los Angeles, but with an eye on hitting the right price point.

“We want to expand our brands and create compelling hotels in great locations, but we’re first and foremost smart real estate investors,” Peruri said. “We are patient and don’t like overpaying.”

Oxford plans to begin construction sometime next year.

The company represented itself in the deal, while Mike Condon Jr. of Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller.

Cash Flow

Bijan’s yellow store on Rodeo Drive sold last month in an all-cash deal for $122 million, or $19,405 a square foot, to the parent company of Louis Vuitton, according to CoStar records. That makes it a deal considerably ritzier than Chanel’s purchase of its Rodeo store last year for $152 million, or $13,217 a square foot – then a per-square-foot record for California retail space.

Representatives at the buyer, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc., did not return a request for comment.

Holliday Fenoglio Fowler’s Bryan Ley, Marc Schillinger, and Bill Fishel represented the sellers, confirmed via CoStar as the Brooks Caddell Barton Trust and Dominium Management Corp.

“It’s probably one of the most iconic buildings on Rodeo Drive, on one of the best blocks,” Ley said when the sale was first announced in July.

Bijan has sold menswear out of the 6,287-square-foot shop for about 40 years.

Staff reporter Daina Beth Solomon can be reached at dsolomon@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5225, ext. 327.

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