Despite being a tourist hot spot, Hollywood has surprisingly few hotels. But a new one could soon rise up from a Chinese investor who has nabbed a Hollywood Boulevard retail site for $9.5 million.

Ji Li of Hollywood Culture and Investment Corp. Inc. plans to tear down the 8,500-square-foot printing shop to build a boutique hotel catering to Chinese tourists – L.A.’s fastest-growing international tourist group, with 779,000 visitors last year.

“There was a lot of value being on the Walk of Fame,” said Avison Young broker John Tronson, who represented the sellers with Thor Lee and Steve Tronson. “This was a great location a block from the W Hotel and the (subway), and so close to the iconic Hollywood buildings like the Pantages Theatre and Capitol Records building.”

Li met the asking price almost immediately, he added. The price was about $565 a square foot for the 16,800-square-foot parcel, marking a land sale record for Hollywood.

Under zoning regulations pending city approval, Li could potentially build a 75,000-square-foot building with about 100 rooms. It would be the first hotel for Li, who plans to build others, according to Tronson. But, like many Chinese investors, he struggled to take money out of his home country amid stock market volatility that triggered cash withdrawal restrictions.

The property last sold in 1997 for $840,000 to Kenneth and Julie Chan.

Super Sales

Los Angeles was a hotbed of activity last week, racking up $614 million in sales.

Blackstone Group has agreed to sell a Brentwood office on Wilshire Boulevard for $311 million, or $620 a square foot, nearly double the amount it paid a decade ago. Hudson Pacific Properties Inc., headquartered there, will pick up the 500,475-square-foot site with help from fresh capital. It recently sold a Burlingame office for $53.4 million and plans to recoup $28.5 million from a loan provided to Waterbridge Capital and Jack Jangana for downtown’s Broadway Trade Center. It also expects to reap $80 million from the sale of a Playa Vista office where WeWork is reportedly moving in.

In downtown, the Garland Center just west of the 110 freeway on Seventh Street sold to investors who prized the 733,000-square-foot office for its data center. Rising Realty Partners of downtown along with New York’s Silverpeak Real Estate Partners and H.I.G. Realty Partners bought the building for $210 million, according to sources familiar with the transaction.

“This is a very large, prime property with great long-term tenants and a great investment opportunity,” said Nelson Rising, chief executive of Rising Realty, in a statement. The site holds three underground floors for data servers in addition to nine office levels. The seller was Wells Fargo Bank Ltd. with other investors.

The downtown building that gave birth to the Old Bank District has sold for $37 million, or more than $400 a square foot. MWest Holdings of Sherman Oaks is picking up developer Tom Gilmore’s San Fernando Building at Fourth and Main streets, with plans to add fresh amenities and as many as 30 units. Gilmore had bought the historic site in 1998 for about $14 a square foot and transformed it into trendy apartments with hip first-floor restaurants.

El Segundo is commanding solid office sales.

Time Warner’s office on Continental Boulevard has sold for $30.5 million, or just over $300 a square foot. Brightforward bought the more than 96,000-square-foot building from Colony Capital Inc. for $9 million above its price in 2007, banking on the potential to do renovations. Nearby, the Apollo at Rosecrans sold last month for more than $600 a square foot, largely due to its creative office stylings.

“It gave the buyer comfort that … they’d be able to get upside rents,” said Kevin Shannon from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who represented the seller with Ken White, Mike Moore and CBRE’s Bill Bloodgood and Dave Smith. Companies from surrounding South Bay areas have snatched 350,000 square feet in El Segundo over the past year and a half, according to CBRE.

Newmark brokers David Ghermezian, Amir Araghi, Jonathan Dadourian, and Serge Vishmid represented the buyer.

Silicon Beach addresses are still in demand.

A Santa Monica office on Ocean Park Boulevard was sold by Buchanan Street Partners and Davenport Partners to Horizon Buildings Inc. for $25.6 million, or above $600 a square foot – more than double the amount it claimed a decade ago. The building, home to Retention Science, is being marketed as tech friendly. CBRE’s Michael Longo represented the seller along with Newmark’s Shannon, White, and Rob Hannan. Newmark broker Gibran Begum represented Horizon.

Staff reporter Daina Beth Solomon can be reached at dsolomon@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 549-5262, ext. 237.

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