LOS ANGELES—Waterbridge Capital has entered into an agreement to acquire the 1.1-million-square-foot Broadway Trade Center for an undisclosed amount. The sale is expected to close in the next 60 days. Once the sale closes, Waterbridge Capital plans to convert the historic building to a mixed-use complex.
The transaction is, in part, due to the successful Bringing Back Broadway campaign led by the city. “The revitalization of the Broadway Trade Center represents a profound boost to Broadway’s magnificent comeback,” says Councilmember José Huizar. “Anytime a significant investment occurs anywhere in the city, it is something worth celebrating. The fact that an investment of this magnitude is happening on Broadway is the clearest indication that momentum on Broadway is building strongly and the historic street is indeed open for business. We are committed to working with the future owner to ensure this historic property is as important to our city’s future as it is to our past.”
The Bringing Back Broadway movement has helped fuel job and economic growth in that area of the downtown market. Recently, the Ace Hotel opened in the former United Artist building and several boutiques, including high-end Swedish label ACNE, have moved to the neighborhood.
Constructed in 1908, the property formerly served as a Hamburger Department Store and then as a May Co. department store. Waterbridge Capital’s vision for the mixed-use complex includes office, hotel, retail and multifamily housing, although the company has not unveiled any concrete plans. However, due to the massive size of the building, the project is said by many to be the largest conversion development on the West Coast.
Due to its sheer size, the sale drew ample attention from potential investors. “The rarity of a redevelopment opportunity in this size range, especially in a downtown core like Los Angeles that is clearly on an upward trajectory, created a tremendous level of interest from both private and institutional capital from all over the world,” says Phillip Sample, one of the CBRE‘s Urban Investment Group brokers who represented the seller, an unnamed private investor, in the transaction. Sample was joined by his CBRE Urban Investment Group colleagues Michael Shustak and Chris Caras. “The plans that the buyer has for the building are very much aligned with that vision, and there are a lot of people in Los Angeles, including me, that believe the conversion of this property will be a game changer for Downtown L.A.,” Sample continues. Jeremiah Curry and Frank Lahijani of Global Commercial Real Estate represented the buyer.