A Turkish investor has purchased a prime Beverly Hills retail property in an off-market deal for $17 million and plans to build a five-star hotel in its place.
But before Serdar Bilgili of Istanbul-based BLG Capital can realize his goal, he must contend with the fact that a neighboring parcel that is a key to his development plan still lies beyond his reach.
Bilgili lost a bid for the site, at 499 N. Canon Drive, in June 2015 when he was first trying to get a toehold in the market. The property instead went to Vertigo clothing brand founder Shahriyar Akhlaghfar, who also goes by Shawn Far, for $33.3 million.
But Bilgili didn’t give up on the block. He targeted the neighboring retail property at 469 N. Canon Drive, buying it from local real estate investor John Bendheim in November for $17 million.
Now Bilgili is putting money back on the table to buy Akhlaghfar’s four-story, 60-year-old office building next door.
“We think that we have made a strong above-market offer for the property, and the owner will decide if he wants to take it,” said Ron Goldie, an attorney who has represented Bilgili but identified his client only as Grand Canon Development, a limited liability company based in Brentwood. Public records and a source familiar with the deal confirmed that Bilgili is the principal investor.
Akhlaghfar last week acknowledged that he had been approached about selling the office building, but said he is contemplating other plans for the site.
Among the options are developing the parcel’s 34-space parking garage that fronts North Santa Monica Boulevard, potentially as retail space, an art gallery, or a car showroom. He also said he might renovate the existing offices inside and out.
“We’re going to bring different plans for the site and see what the city approves that works for the community,” Akhlaghfar said.
He paid $1,441 a square foot for the building in 2015, and presuming he would sell above that level to BLG, the transaction would be among the priciest office sales on a square-foot basis in Los Angeles County.
Bilgili’s planned hotel project in many ways hinges on his ability to make a deal with Akhlaghfar, because the parking garage extends to North Santa Monica.
Goldie said his client has designs on a third property in that block as well: 9435 Santa Monica Blvd.
That building has 11,376 square feet of retail space leased to tenants including Fatburger and tanning salon Portofino. Local investor Bruce Gabbai purchased the site, known as the Marian Building, in 2013 for $11.7 million, or $1,033 a square foot.
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