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Downtown Developer Buys Historic Boyle Heights Sears Building

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Finally, someone has decided to buy the long-underused Sears complex at Olympic and Soto in Boyle Heights. MJW Investments has sold it to none other than prolific DTLA developer Izek Shomof--the man behind behind the the Alexandria Hotel rehab, the Title Insurance condo project, and a new residential tower at Fourth and Broadway--for $32.1 million. The 23-acre property is home to Sears' enormous 1927 distribution center (1.8 million square feet), which still houses a successful Sears store on its ground floor, but is abandoned up above. MJW bought the complex in 2004 and had planned on convert it to condos/apartments/retail space until the economy bit them on the ass. For years, prospective buyers have kicked the tires on the property--Oscar de Lay Hoya's real estate company floated a $70-million offer at one point, but the purchase never went forward. Shomof can fill the upper floors with apartments or retail, but he can't tear down the Sears tower portion, as it's a Los Angeles historic-cultural monument and Sears has an active lease that's good for more than nine decades.
· Landmark Boyle Heights Sears Building Is Sold [LABJ, sub. req.]