REAL ESTATE : Irvine Developer Buys Soap Factory Site, Plans Retail Complex

Compiled by Debora Vrana, Times staff writer

Sanderson-J. Ray Development said Monday it has bought the former Lever Brothers Co. soap and detergent plant beside the Santa Ana Freeway in the City of Commerce.

Sanderson, a real estate developer based in Irvine, said the acquisition is one of the largest purchases of industrial property in central Los Angeles County in recent years, though it did not release the amount it paid.

The deal includes 32 acres of land and six buildings totaling about 400,000 square feet at 6300 E. Sheila St., said Scott Heaton, the broker who handled the transaction for the seller, Seeley Co. of Commerce.

"The property features one-half mile of I-5 frontage, providing high identity and easy access from the Washington Boulevard exits of the freeway, in addition to being adjacent to the Amtrak and Metrolink Commerce stations," Heaton said.

Sanderson said it plans to convert the buildings to retail stores and possibly construct some new retail outlets on the property.

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