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Wednesday, Jul 6, 2022

Clothing Chain Picks Up Property Near Grove Mall

Billionaire developer Alan Casden has lost a key development site across from the Grove mall, scuttling his plans for a 300-unit complex in the high-traffic area.

The 3.4-acre property on Third Street and Ogden Drive, currently the location of a Ross Dress for Less, was bought for $45 million by store parent Ross Stores Inc. in a move to keep the Fairfax district site operating as a retail store.

The property had been put up for sale by an affiliate of New York private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, Casden’s estranged partner in his Casden Properties LLC property development company.

The site received more than 10 offers in less than a month on the market, said Bill Bauman, executive vice president at the downtown L.A. office of Studley Inc. He declined to discuss other offers, saying only that Ross’ was the “cleanest.”

“It’s a prime property, and because of the very high demand we had, the seller felt it was a prudent strategy to have a quick process,” Bauman said. “Ross offered to set up and close very quickly with very limited due diligence.”

Casden, the developer of the Palazzo mixed-use complex in Westwood, has long pushed to build residential units on the Grove-adjacent property, but struggled to overcome community opposition. His most recent proposal called for 225 condominiums and 75 senior rental units spread across several buildings, including a 13-story tower.

A source said the sale price was well over what the property would have been worth to a developer.

“Ross essentially paid a premium to keep a profitable store,” he said. “Ross’ point is they have a very nice store there, and so long as they control their future there, it’s a home run.”

Ross did not return a call for comment. Casden and Cerberus declined to comment through representatives.

The Ross property was one of several at the heart of a bitter still-ongoing breakup between Casden and Cerberus. The two partnered in 2002 with plans to develop it and several other properties in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, but were stymied by the downturn.

Last summer, Cerberus took control of the properties and placed some of them on the market, including the Ross site and the high-profile site of the Movietown Plaza project in West Hollywood, entitled for 371 residential units and ground-floor retail.

Movietown is still listed for sale on the website of listing agent Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP, which did not return a call for comment.

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