LOS ANGELES--December 20, 2002--CIM Group, California's leading investor/developer of urban infill mixed-use projects, won unanimous approval from the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency to move forward with a supermarket and 250 rental lofts that are a central component of its $220 million, three block, mixed use project designed to revitalize the center of downtown Los Angeles. When complete, the 7.2 acre site between 8th and 9th Streets and Flower and Hope Streets will include a total of 1200 lofts and 127,000 square feet of retail. Initial funding came from the firm's CIM California Urban Real Estate Fund.
"We're connecting the pieces downtown and creating a community," said Avi Shemesh, a founding partner of CIM Group, which was a major force behind the revitalization of both Old Pasadena and Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade.
CIM Group announced that it already has started restoration on three historic Gas Company headquarters buildings on the site that are being converted to rental lofts with ground floor retail space.
"CIM is bringing the amenities that are crucial to create the 24-hour downtown that everyone has been waiting for," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes downtown. "With its central location, easily accessed from both the South Park residential area and the business district, it will be the catalyst for a vibrant downtown community."
Along with the supermarket that has been leased to Ralphs, CIM is negotiating leases for a coffee shop, an International House of Pancakes, a Blockbuster Video and a dry cleaner for some of the other retail spaces.
"We are delighted to find that we have more demand by retailers to be in this project than we have space," said Shaul Kuba, a founding partner of CIM Group. "It proves that retailers believe downtown will have a critical mass of residents once all the current and announced projects are complete."
Construction is expected to start in July 2003 on The Market at 9th and Flower, comprising a 50,000-square-foot supermarket and up to 250 rental lofts. Five levels of lofts will be built atop the market with a pool and landscaped plaza in the center. The supermarket will be pedestrian oriented with tables and chairs in front of the 9th Street entrance. All parking is below. Designed by RTKL Architects, the building will be in a modern urban style to fit with neighboring structures. The supermarket is slated to open in late 2004 while the lofts will be ready for occupancy in early 2005. Total development cost is estimated at $60 million.
The historic Gas Company buildings at 800, 810 and 820 South Flower Street were designed by three renowned Los Angeles architects - Parkinson, A. C. Martin & Associates and Robert V. Derrah. They are being converted into 22,500 square feet of street retail space and 251 rental lofts at an estimated cost of $48 million. The buildings are being restored in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and the lofts will combine historic elements with all the style and amenities for modern living. Occupancy of these lofts is expected to start in September 2003. The architect is Killefer Flammang.
The remainder of the 7.2-acre site will be developed into additional residential and retail space. Approximately 150 rental lofts and 25,000 square feet of retail space will be built at the southwest corner of 8th and South Hope Streets. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2004 at an estimated cost of $21 million. The architect is still to be selected.
The final two sites are located on both sides of the supermarket site on the northwest corner of 9th and Flower Streets and on the northeast corner of 9th and Hope Streets facing Grand Hope Park. Two buildings are planned at these locations with a total of approximately 520 for-sale condominiums and an additional 30,000 square feet of retail space. These lofts will offer panoramic views of downtown's skyline as well as the STAPLES Center. Estimated development costs are $90 million. No timetable has been announced for this project.
CIM Group, based in Los Angeles, is a full service real estate investor and operator organized in 1994 to revitalize districts of high population density, including the traditional downtown areas within large cities and the main street districts withi n towns and suburban cities. A leader in California's urban renaissance, CIM Group has developed a premier portfolio of street retail and urban housing, office and mixed-use properties in California's most popular destinations, including Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, Old Pasadena, Birch Street in Brea, Hollywood Boulevard and San Jose's downtown. Each CIM investment adapts proven land use and design principles of great urban districts to the unique strengths of the location and the needs of the community.
CIM Group has renovated a number of National Register historic properties, including the Colfair Building in Pasadena, and it will soon complete the redevelopment of the historic US Grant and Walker Scott buildings in San Diego as well as the Twohy historic building in downtown San Jose.
CIM is one of a few firms with the comprehensive ability to bring projects to life. As manager of the $180 million CIM California Urban Real Estate Fund, it has the financial ability to fund the equity requirement for projects. The fund, formed in 2001 with investments from the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), is designed to pursue California urban infill projects.
Having equity funding available is critical to reassuring sellers and communities, attracting private and public partners, and moving projects forward among all parties. Expertise and capital from CIM and its partners have a multiplier effect on community development because they provide project certainty, encourage public participation, support debt financing, attract tax credit financing and encourage other private investors.