Giant L.A. Fashion Mart Taken Over by New York Landlord Brookfield

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The emperor of high-rises in L.A.’s financial core, office landlord Brookfield has taken over the California Market Center in the fashion district. On Thursday, the final sale was closed and valued to be nearly $440 million, according to an insider source close to the transaction. Now giving Brookfield a controlling interest in the estate, this expands the L.A. market from towering skyscrapers to newly emerging neighborhoods, ranging from Bunker Hill and Figueroa Street to the Arts District and the Staples Center. Now, the publicly held New York real estate company that rents high-price offices, Brookfield vows to spend millions of dollars to turn the mediocre fashion district to a highly demanded destination for creative firms who don’t succumb to the stereotypical glass sky rise. According to Brookfield, the 1.8-million-square-foot California Market Center is “an opportunity to take a historic building complex for L.A. fashion and apparel and trade events and make it a forward-thinking office and mart for creative users,” Bert Dezzutti said, the head of the Western region for Brookfield’s office properties. With nearly 1,000 showrooms in three thirteen-story buildings, California Market Center is the largest wholesale mart. Originated in 1963, the line was so popular that for a time, it had a waiting list of tenants for years. However, bankruptcies and consolidations in the department store in the 1980s led to a significant decline in the number of wholesale buyers that supported the mart. In the world today, the industry faces challenges brought on by Internet clothing sales. However, Brookfield hopes “to boost the appeal the mart’s appeal to the fashion trade as well as reach out to non-apparel businesses,” Dezzutti said. “We think there is a big population not mart-related who may want to locate there. It could be tenants from a variety of creative industries.” The market has already seen bigger companies looking beyond the towering office buildings towards the downtown offices. For example, Warner Music Group recently agreed to relocate hundreds from Burbank and the Westside into an auto plant in the Arts District, which will be done with renovations this summer. These new vibrancies in the area are capturing the attention of bigger groups. Petra Durnin, regional director of research at real estate brokerage CBRE Group Inc., said “People are looking hard at downtown, and it’s not just your typical legal and banking tenants. It’s all types of tenants now.” According to the executive director of the L.A. Fashion District Business Improvement District, Rena Masten Leddy said, “The center lies at a key intersection where historic downtown meets the fashion district.” She adds, “The fashion district is changing.”

A coffee depended life-form who enjoys thriller novels, creative writing, and wearing heels to feel taller. Shy to acquaintances, presumably obnoxious to friends. Watched the Harry Potter saga more times than I should admit, but then I remember: who cares? Thoroughly enjoy getting dressed up, but love my fuzzy sweatpants. I like to think my life is interesting.

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