Friday, October 8, 2010

Beverly Hills Development Watch: 9900 Wilshire, Coveted Robinsons-May Site in Beverly Hills Sells for $148 Million - 65% off Previous Sale Price

Many developments follow a simple course, going from raw land to finished final entity with nary a speedbump along the way.  That's not quite the case for 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, one of the most valuable real estate sites in the nation, which just sold for $148.3 million, after a rocky couple of years.

To recap, this site, home to the former Robinsons-May Department store, sold in 2004 for $33.5 million.  In 2007, jet-setting British developers Candy & Candy purchased the site for $500 million,  with ambitious plans to create a 235-unit condo/townhouse complex designed by Richard Meier, fabled architect of the Getty Center.

Needless to say, a global recession later, Candy & Candy were out, and Carlos Slim, Mexican billionaire and co-financier of the purchase, foreclosed on the $365 million loan.  The land was auctioned privately, and just closed this week.

The buyer is Joint Treasure International, a Hong-Kong-based private equity firm, with plenty of experience in this property type.  Since 1995, the group has owned the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, just down the road.  Joint Treasure intends to develop luxury condos and has had preliminary meetings with Richard Meier, but it's unclear, ultimately, what will emerge on the site.

We think now is an excellent time for the group to hit the drawing board with the intention of creating some of the best luxury housing ever to emerge in Los Angeles.  Perhaps five years from now, when the units open for sale, the global doldrums will have receded, and a cadre of world-class buyers will be lining up to get in on the excitement.