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Enormous Arts District Site Sells to Developer of Suburban Master-Planned Communities

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Those Arts District residents who were taken aback by the size of the brand new One Santa Fe mixed-user (four acres) should get ready to really freak out, because a 14.6-acre site in the neighborhood just sold for $130 million to an Irvine-based buyer hoping to make it into some kind of mixed-use development. Bloomberg reports that the buyer, SunCal, is "a developer of master-planned communities," so if the AD's new-old-industrial open-air mall wasn't proof enough that this place is pretty much done as far as being an edgy, gritty place to live, just imagine an urban Irvine.

"This is the largest L.A. development opportunity around. For just land, $130 million is a lot to pay. And it's a lot of acreage," says a senior vice president at CBRE Group Inc. who repped the seller. (For comparison, the Americana at Brand is 15.5 acres.) The site is home to two warehouses that function mainly as bases for food distributors, and Bloomberg confirmed for Curbed that the parcel is bordered by Sixth, Alameda, Mill, and Wholesale Streets, which puts it smack in the middle of the southern Arts District boom, near a former Ford Factory that will become a mixed-use office building and a fancy future residential mixed-user, plus many of the neighborhood's hippest eateries. It'll also be about a block away from that forthcoming open-air mall.

The Arts District's old industrial buildings and empty lots are falling steadily, making way for more multi-family developments and the prices are already high and getting higher. The city is attempting to preserve the spirit of the Arts District while also making it more and more attractive to new residents, via an Interim Live-Work Zone that would create certain aesthetic and other standards (green spaces in the form of courtyards and pedestrian paseos, live/work units) for new projects.

SunCal's new mixed-use development—which will probably take years to develop, says the senior vice president of the company—sounds like it might incorporate those new guidelines, as it's presently imagined as a combination of office space, retail, and live/work units. SunCal purchased the site with some money from computer baron Michael Dell's MSD Capital, which also owns the historic Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.
· SunCal Purchases L.A. Development Site for $130 Million [Bloomberg]
· Arts District Working on New Rules For a Cooler Gentrification [Curbed LA]
· "Don't Change the Arts District" Says Guy Who Arrived Last Year [Curbed LA]