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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

Long-Delayed Sale of South L.A. Retail Center Closes

Century City real estate investment firm Optimus Properties has dropped $24.3 million on a South L.A. shopping center it had been eyeing since 2001.

The deal with Regency Centers Corp. for the Juanita Tate Marketplace, a 77,000-square-foot, 6.5-acre shopping center at 944-1040 E. Slauson Ave., was finally able to close after years of litigation over the eminent domain acquisition of the site ended and construction was completed.

Optimus was a development partner in the project, along with local nonprofit Concerned Citizens of Central Los Angeles and CRA/LA, successor to the city’s redevelopment agency. The CRA began assembling the site through eminent domain in 1998, and one of the former owners, recycling and waste management firm Kramer Metals, fought the acquisition for years.

“With all the different pieces of the puzzle … I’m surprised it even got done in 17 years,” said Joseph Shabani, a principal of Optimus.

Construction on the development was completed in May and it is now fully leased. The center consists of a 42,500-square-foot building occupied by grocery store Northgate Gonzalez Market, a 14,576-square-foot building leased by CVS Pharmacy; and two freestanding buildings totaling 20,000 square feet that are occupied by Starbucks, Panda Express, Yogurtland and others.

While it was going through legal tussles, supporters of the development touted it as a solution to a shortage of grocery stores in the area, which was once considered a food desert. There are other supermarkets in the area now, but Shabani said there is none of the same caliber.

“Northgate gave the community the market it deserves with fresh produce and amazing food buffets,” he said. “They looked at it as if they were going into Brentwood rather than South Central.”

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