Big news out of sleepy Pacific Palisades this afternoon: reports that billionaire developer Rick Caruso, of The Grove, the Americana, and the new 8500 Burton apartments, is buying the largest collection of commercial properties in Pacific Palisades. It's not clear who currently owns the 2.8 acre parcel--located at Swarthmore and Sunset Boulevard--or what the purchase price is; the estimates put it between $30 and $50 million. From the LA Times: "Several of the commercial buildings dating to the 1950s are unoccupied and others have short-term leases offering the new owner 'the ability to execute its vision for the property' and redevelop the site, according to marketing materials from broker CBRE Group Inc." The Palisadian Post adds that Caruso might be planning to bring a Trader Joe's to the site, creating a space by "tearing down the vacant U.S. Bank property, the medical offices on the second floor of that building, and the former Office Supplier and Nest Egg spaces (also empty)." Caruso's office has not confirmed the purchase.
More details from the Palisadian Post:
-- Norman Kulla, advisor to Councilmember Bill Rosendahl--whose district includes the Palisades--has said "Our offices were very excited and greatly encouraged to hear what they had to share. They talked about enhancing the area and being non-invasive."
-- A marketing report drawn up by the broker included a draft development plan calling for a mixed-use project with approximately 115 residential units.
-- A group of local tenants urged Caruso to buy the property after rumors of interest from a developer in China. They believe he can "bring much-needed vitality to the business district."
-- Palisades real estate developer Steve Soboroff told the Post: On the one hand it doesn't make any sense for the buyer to be Caruso. On other hand, it makes perfect sense because he can get things passed in the Palisades that no one else can."
· Village Properties May Have a Buyer [Palisadian Post]
· Rick Caruso to buy parcels in Pacific Palisades Village [LAT]