Onni Group is the first thing I think of when I hear “Vancouver developer” in the Downtown LA development scene (especially after they just added their beautiful 33-story Level tower at 9th and Olive to our growing DTLA skyline). However, a new Canadian player is coming into town. Bonnis Properties, also Vancouver-based, has just completed the acquisition of the historic Foreman & Clark building at 7th and Hill for a whopping $52 million ($353 a square foot) according to broker Derrick Moore of Avison Young who represented Bonnis Properties.
In June 2014, it was announced that one of the most prominent buildings in the shrinking Jewelry District, the 13-story Foreman & Clark was slated for residential conversion (named for the former department store that occupied the building in 1929 when it was built). Plans were submitted to the City of Los Angeles for 165 live work lofts and two restaurants and a bar.
The owner at the time, Dr. Kyung Ku Cho, who purchased the building in 2012, then decided after that he wanted to switch directions and go the hotel development route with rumors pointing to SBE’s Hyde Hotels last year as the possible operator. That obviously fell through when some claimed that Dr. Cho just couldn’t agree on a number with SBE’s owner Sam Nazarian.
Well, it’s time to put the tumultuous past behind us and look forward to a brighter future for this gorgeous Art Deco edifice, which has sat terribly underutilized for the last several decades in a dilapidated Jewelry District. Although more details will be coming soon, the initial statement coming out of Avison Young is that Bonnis Properties intends to pursue the original plan to restore and convert the building into residential units with restaurant/retail on the ground floor instead of going the hotel route.
This is wonderful news for those of us who want to see the Jewelry District continue to shrink and be replaced by high-quality developments that not only help clean up the seedy environment, but also bring in new exciting retailers and restaurants that will remain activated day and night, which will help reconnect the Historic Core with the Financial District and South Park.
You may also remember that the three-story “International Jewelry Mart” next door to the Foreman & Clark along 7th Street was also sold late last year to NY-based Atlas Capital for $14.7 million who also plans to repurpose the building.