A former cardboard recycling yard in downtown’s Arts District sold last week for more than double the price it fetched just two years ago, a sign of quickly rising land values in a fast-developing market.
Vancouver-based Onni Group purchased the 38,266-square-foot site in an off-market deal on November 11 for just over $10 million, according to a source familiar with the deal. In 2014, Core Development picked up the plot for just $3.9 million, according to public records.
The parcel, formerly operated by California Crate, sits on Violet Street a block over from Italian restaurant Bestia, furniture store HD Buttercup, and the Ford Factory, an office building that Warner Music Group recently signed a lease to occupy in full.
CBRE Senior Vice President Brandon Burns, who represented Core in its 2014 purchase and in the recent sale, along with Brandon Gill and Jae Yoo, said deep-pocketed investors are now latching on to business opportunities in an area that, until recent years, attracted scant attention.
“You have a small market adjacent to downtown, that has all these qualities and in hindsight, you wonder why it didn’t happen earlier. You could argue we’re just catching up,” Burns said. “There were some local pioneers with vision, but the real values came along when larger investors from out of the area started seeing its potential.”
New York landlord giant Tishman Speyer, which owns Rockefeller Center, purchased two Arts District office buildings leased by Hyperloop One last month for about $25 million. That’s more than triple the price paid by sellers Borman Group and Lion Real Estate, which purchased the buildings for a total of $7.8 million between 2014 and last year.
Onni did not disclose its plans for the site on Violet Street, and it’s possible that a pair of city initiatives targeting large development will restrict its options. Build Better L.A., which passed in the November election, adds labor and affordable housing conditions to multifamily development. And the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, headed for the March ballot as Measure S, would put a two-year ban on any projects that require major planning variances.
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