As the Downtown Los Angeles development boom continues, every parcel of available land seems to be getting scooped up and turned into a high-rise. But as luxury lofts and ambitious mixed-use projects fill out the city's skyline, one parking lot developer is steadfastly staying in the days of yore. As the Los Angeles Business Journal reports, the L&R Group—manager of the ubiquitous Wally Park and Joe’s Auto Parks and owner of more than 80 lots in DTLA—has just dropped $30 million on the 1.5-acre site that houses Toyota of Downtown LA, just north of the 10 and south of the LA Convention Center.
L&R doesn't seem to have any plans to develop the property for residential use, as many other buyers might. Located on the red hot Figueroa Corridor, just blocks from the Staples Center, the lot will probably get a fair amount of use. The plan seems to be for L&R to build "a multi-level parking lot anchored by ground-floor retail."
In 2011, L&R purchased another parcel of land on Figueroa, across from the LA Convention Center, for a similarly large sum. Many, including business owners and former City Councilmember Jan Perry, expressed disappointment at the time that the centrally located property was not being put to better use.
A study released last year found that a staggering 14 percent of all land in Los Angeles is taken up by parking spots. And while spots can be hard to find Downtown, some city planners suggest that might not be a bad thing—UCLA professor and parking expert Donald Shoup has consistently maintained that an abundance of parking can create traffic problems, limit density, and discourage people from commuting in more environmentally friendly ways. (This site is about a 12-minute walk from light rail.)
If the price is right, however, the property could certainly become something other than parking. The real estate agent who repped L&R in the sale practically sent out engraved invitations to developers: "One might imagine that interest from developers might lead to another sale, sooner than expected...Demand remains strong, and it's a unique piece.” he tells the LABJ.
For right now, though, it looks like L&R will continue building its parking empire Downtown. The company also recently finished work on a multilevel lot on Eighth Street, which has retail space attached. The Toyota dealership, meanwhile, is moving a few blocks south to Washington and Figueroa.
- Downtown Toyota Site Sold for $30M [LA Business Journal]
- 14 Percent of Los Angeles County Land is Dedicated to Parking [Curbed LA]
- What Would It Look Like If All of Los Angeles's Parking Was in One Giant Blob? [Curbed LA]