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Prime Beverly Hills development site purchased by Asian investors

October 5, 2010 |  1:15 pm

The site of a former department store in Beverly Hills widely considered one of the most desirable pieces of real estate in the country sold for $148.3 million Tuesday to investors from Hong Kong and Singapore who intend to develop condominiums on the property.

The eight-acre parcel at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards was purchased by Joint Treasure International, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm specializing in global real estate that represents major family investors.

"This is an incomparable site that cannot be replicated and we intend to build a superb project offering world-class luxury residences," said Daniel Yiu, senior advisor to Joint Treasure.

Joint Treasure has owned the Beverly Wilshire Hotel since 1995 and is familiar with the neighborhood, Yiu said. "Our investor group is interested only in premier properties in premier locations."

The investors bought the former Robinsons-May department store site at 9900 Wilshire Blvd. at auction from Banco Inbursa, a bank controlled by Mexican financial mogul Carlos Slim. The bank completed a foreclosure process last week on CPC Group, which was operated by jet-setting British developers Nicholas and Christian Candy.

The Candys bought made headlines in 2007 when they bought the parcel for $500 million in one of the largest transactions in the history of Los Angeles County. The seller, Beverly Hills-based New Pacific Realty Corp., had paid $33.5 million for the property three years earlier.

New Pacific created a plan for the site that called for razing the empty department store and building a luxury condominium and retail complex designed by Richard Meier, architect of the Getty Center. Yiu said Joint Treasure intends to follow through with the same general plan.

Yiu said he is uncertain when the plans could be completed and approved by city officials but added that he didn’t intend to wait for the real estate market to fully recover before getting started.

"Surely one cannot wait until the market picks up to build,” he said. "That would be too late."

The once-glamorous Robinsons-May flagship store on the property closed in 2006 after parent company Federated Department Stores Inc. decided not to renew its lease.

-- Roger Vincent