A historic building on 7th Street located in the very heart of the Jewelry District has just been sold to New York investor, Atlas Capital, for $14.7 million. Escrow closed on the three-story, 36,000 square foot structure — currently named the “International Jewelry Mart” — just before Thanksgiving, paving the way for new possibilities for another sadly dilapidated building in Downtown LA to be restored and repositioned as something more than just a shabby discount jewelry center. ALTC Realty represented the sellers and Industry Partners represented the buyers in the deal.
Built in 1917, the structure has been altered through the decades with ugly signage plastered on the facade covering up any historic details that may or may not be left intact. Luckily, some ornate detailing still remains on the building’s perimeter edges as well as the top cornice allowing for some architectural context to work off of if/when Atlas Capital decides to upgrade the facade with capital improvements. At over $400 a foot, you better bet the sale of the property likely means a new direction for the building outside of selling wholesale jewelry, which is another sign that the moribund Jewelry District is coming to an end, thank goodness.
What makes this transaction particularly important in the grand scheme of Downtown LA’s urban redevelopment is that the building is literally sandwiched by two other historic structures along 7th Street that have also gotten rid of their wholesale jewelry inside. To the left of the International Jewelry Mart is the beautiful Foreman & Clark at 7th and Hill that is now on the market for sale with potential plans to become a new upscale boutique hotel. To the right is the red-colored LA Jewelry Mart at 7th and Olive that may become a retail/office hub. Both of these buildings are now completely vacant (meaning, all wholesale jewelers have left) and will eventually be replaced with other uses relevant to the new downtown.
If you think about it, if all three of these buildings on the block are repositioned successfully with exciting retail, office, and hotel concepts, then that is a huge substantial chunk taken out of the Jewelry District that will set a new powerful precedent for the rest of the immediate area to follow, further cementing the nail in the coffin.
According to the manager inside the International Jewelry Mart I spoke with, “big changes” are likely to come next year, which is music to my ears!