The retail building at at 656-660 N. Larchmont Blvd. and 5626-5636 Melrose Avenue recently sold to MCAP Partners, a Hollywood-based, family-owned real estate company, for $6.3 million. The building is home to several small retail shops, a production studio and the restaurant Coffee+Food. It was built in 1925 when the neighborhood was called Larchmont Heights. The architect listed on the building permit is Everett H. Merrill, a prominent local architect who also designed residences in Hancock Park.
The new owners have named the building “Larchmont Place,” inspired by nearby Melrose Place, explained Alex Massachi, Executive Vice President, Acquisitions and Development at MCAP Partners. Massachi, a recent Wharton School of Business grad, joined his family’s business to develop some of the family holdings.
“My father escaped Iran during the 1979 revolution because he was Jewish,” explained Massachi. “He started working as an auto mechanic and he was able to buy the business. From the proceeds of his business, he was able to buy distressed properties after the recession in 2009.”
MCAP Partners has extensive holdings in Hollywood, with a concentration of parcels on Highland Avenue north of Santa Monica, which the Massachis are hoping to develop to revitalize the street.
As for Larchmont Place, Massachi said they plan to refresh the building with paint, giving the building a new color scheme and refresh the tiles around the windows. They are also working on improving signage. Every tenant was invited to stay, but the new owners did raise the rents. According to Massachi, the rents were substantially below the market rate, at $1.50 per square foot. The new rents are at the market rate of $6, but still less than half the rate of rents on Larchmont south of Beverly Blvd.
Lynn Hall, of Floret Floral and Coop at 654 N. Larchmont, told the Buzz she is excited about the new owners and has negotiated a new lease. It’s at the higher rent, but Hall said it was still doable. She told the Buzz she loves her Larchmont location and retail space is expensive all over the city.
Meanwhile, the Ampersand Boutique will be moving. Owner Laura Armstrong told the Buzz yesterday that the new building owners did offer her a new long-term lease, and that the rent increase was a reasonable correction, but she chose the opportunity to relocate…for several reasons, including better parking options and a location closer to many of her customers.
Ampersand will have a big moving sale at the current location starting on Monday, May 6th and extending through Friday the 11th. The store will move on May 13, and will open at its new location at 7424 Beverly Blvd. (at Vista) on May 16th.
Armstrong said she has heard from many of her customers and consigners after notifying them of the pending move, and many of them are also happy with the news.
Massachi said the owner of the antique store currently in Larchmont Place will be retiring. He’s still waiting to hear back from some of the other tenants and stressed that everyone has the option to stay. When spaces open up, Massachi said, his company will be looking for tenants that provide services to the neighborhood and invite more sidewalk traffic to support the businesses located within walking distance.
“We want to bring businesses that benefit the community and create synergy between the businesses and the community. That’s how real estate works. If we do that, everyone benefits,” explained Massachi.