Beverly Hills Store to Be Shut

Times Staff Writer

The landmark Robinsons-May store in Beverly Hills will close next spring, Federated Department Stores Inc. said Thursday in announcing that it would terminate its lease.

The 8-acre parcel at Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards is considered one of the most attractive potential redevelopment sites in Southern California, and Beverly Hills officials expect to see a new commercial and residential project built there.

"It's one of the last few underdeveloped properties in the city," said Mahdi Aluzri, director of community development. "It's a great opportunity for significant development at a gateway site."

A city planning committee has recommended that the property be made over with a substantial project that would be compatible in scale with the Beverly Hilton Hotel next door.

The owner of the store property, New Pacific Realty Corp. of Beverly Hills, may unveil its plans for the site next month and begin the construction entitlement process, Aluzri said.

New Pacific said in a statement that the Federated announcement "creates the opportunity to focus our plans on the redevelopment of the property" and that the project "will be a reflection of the standards and values for which Beverly Hills is known throughout the world."

The 240,000-square-foot store at 9900 Wilshire Blvd. was a sensation when it opened in 1952 as a high-end Robinsons. The $6-million structure boasted travertine stone from Peru, rose marble from Portugal, black granite from Brazil and rosewood from Madagascar.

Federated previously said it would close at least 28 other locations in Southern California as part of its $11-billion acquisition of May Department Stores Co., operator of Robinsons-May.

Most workers will be shifted to other stores, Cincinnati-based Federated said. It has 152 employees in Beverly Hills.

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