Santa Monica Lookout
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Santa Monica Promenade Food Court Building Sells for $20 Million

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

January 15, 2014 -- Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade is widely regarded as some of the best commercial real estate in the region.

That’s why developers have shelled out $20.5 million to buy the five-story building, home to fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s and Subway, located next to the shuttered AMC Criterion 6.

Lincoln Property Company and Centennial Real Estate, which has an office in Santa Monica, made the purchase in the hopes of revamping the 22-year-old building, which they consider “underutilized.”

The companies plan to invest about $4 million into the building “to create a more modern dining space,” representatives of the firms said Tuesday.

But does that mean visitors to the Promenade will have to go elsewhere for quick eats during a shopping spree? No, Lincoln Property representatives say.

“We consider this acquisition a prime opportunity to help fill the shortage of fast-serve restaurant options and creative office space for the 50,000 people who visit this part of Santa Monica each day,” said David Binswanger, executive vice president at Lincoln Property Company.

The firms estimate about half of the available restaurant space in the building is empty. And, the entire top two floors have been vacant since August when Burn Fitness moved out.

In order to help unlock the building’s potential as an “A+ location,” the developers will “transform the vacant top two levels into creative office space with high ceilings and open layouts to appeal to the growing contingent of creative and technology-driven tenants in Santa Monica,” representatives said.

“We are very excited to commence construction and debut what promises to be a central gathering spot for local shoppers, employees and residents,” Binswanger said.

According to Scott Schonfeld, managing partner with Centennial Real Estate, the building hasn’t been touched since it was built in 1992 and it is due for an investment.

Schonfeld said that this acquisition fits in with his company’s strategy of buying up “underutilized” buildings in prime locations and investing in them.

In fact, Centennial’s Santa Monica office is located at one such property near the 5th Street exit from the I-10.

The building sits on a sliver of land that’s part of a City-owned parcel designated an “opportunity” site by City planners.

The site, like the seven other “opportunity” sites, were identified by City officials as optimal places to allow dense development in exchange for large community benefits.

Centennial has begun exploring its options for redeveloping the site near the freeway since it is only a few blocks from the future site of the 4th Street Expo Light rail stop, scheduled to open in 2016. (“Makeover of Downtown Santa Monica’s 'Back Door' in the Works,” November 13, 2013)

Working with Santa Monica-based architect firm Koning Eizenberg and the Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, Schonfeld and his team began exploring possible redesigns for the area, including a potential -- and costly -- realignment of the freeway ramp.

While the 5th Street project is likely years from becoming a reality, Schonfeld and his partners hope to start rehabbing the Promenade food court building -- once home to a Wolfgang Puck Express -- by spring.


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