In a sign that downtown L.A.'s former main drag is making a genuine comeback, one of the homeliest buildings on Broadway has been sold to local developers who hope to turn it into a fashionable shopping destination.
The brick building built in 1984 stands among more historic structures that have faded during decades of neglect but retain a certain dignity and stature that the newer building probably never had.
"It is an ugly, ugly building," new owner Pouya Abdi said. "The best part about it is that it has parking and the structure is good. We need to redo the entire facade."
Abdi's boutique development firm Parallel Acquisitions & Holdings bought the building called Broadway Mall for $6.3 million from Joe's Auto Parks, Abdi said. His partner in the acquisition was Daniel Abrams, principal of Los Angeles investment firm Sunrise Real Estate Group.
Their vision for the five-story building at 440 S. Broadway calls for a physical transformation and new tenants. Abdi estimates the improvements will cost about as much as $2 million and include a new facade that complements historic buildings nearby.
"We're going to get rid of the whole swap-meet feel," Abdi said, and make the building home to no more than three retail tenants.
The nature of the street is changing as downtown's renaissance brings new residents and businesses to the neighborhood that might have avoided it in the past.
"National retailers are knocking on everyone's door now," Abdi said. Recent arrivals include Urban Outfitters and Ross Dress for Less.
The building has 35,600 square feet of retail space under a 53,400-square-foot garage in an area where parking comes at a premium.
"It has all the right elements for the street in a not-so-attractive package," said Abrams of Sunrise. "When it's done, it will be a gem."
A hip hotel, stores and restaurants have recently arrived on Broadway and more businesses are on the way, said real estate broker Adam Tischer of Colliers International, who helped arrange the deal.