The 123,600-square-foot, former Coca-Cola plant sits on 1.2 acres.

LOS ANGELES—Atlas LA 4th St. LLC has acquired the former Coca-Cola industrial building from Harmony Investments for $19 million. Located at 963 East 4th Street in the arts district, the 123,600-square-foot building is the largest to trade hands in the downtown submarket in three years.

“It’s hard to find 123,000 square feet,” Mollie Dietsch, SVP at Lee & Associates Central Los Angeles’ Commerce office, tells Dietsch represented the buyer in the transaction along with Lee & Associates SVP Matthew Artukovich. CBRE represented the seller. “All of the other rehab projects of industrial buildings were done 10 years ago, and then, no one was paying more than $100 a foot for raw concrete slab,” Dietsch says. By comparison, this building was purchased for nearly $155 dollars a foot.

Atlas LA plans to convert the industrial property, which was originally built in 1915 as Coca-Cola’s packing facility, into a creative office space with ground floor retail. The transaction was in the works for a year before it finally closed this month. According to Dietsch, the seller selected Atlas LA out of a handful of other interested buyers. “About a year ago we went through an interview process with the seller and explained Atlas LA’s interest in the property and what the goal was,” says Dietsch. “The seller selected them from three or four different buyers at the time. Then, there was a scramble of what the city would allow in terms of adaptive reuse.”

To meet all of the city’s requirements for conversion to creative office, the buyer will need to add a parking structure onto the site. “There has been so much action in the last 12 months that they may still change it up a bit from what we think they are going to do with the property,” Dietsch explains. She says they have even talked about creating a rooftop bar. At this point, the buyers are still shopping for an architect and playing with the countless possibilities for the site.

Prior to finding this facility, the buyer had been looking for a building in the arts district for creative office conversion. “We have known the owner for quite some time and came onto this prior to her listing the property, and we held off on presenting the offer until she found CB for representation,” Dietsch says.

This is one of the few office projects in the arts district part of Downtown Los Angeles. Many of the other developments and industrial conversions in this area are multifamily, including the One Santa Fe project that will open this summer. Like the plans for the Coca-Cola plant, this $160-million property also features ground-floor retail space.