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Site Sale Revives Plans for Pico Mall

Project at San Vicente has been approved by City Council and may feature Home Depot and Costco, new owner says.

June 03, 2003|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

Plans for a large-scale shopping center at Pico and San Vicente boulevards in Los Angeles have been revived with the purchase of the 12-acre site by Hollywood developer CIM Group.

The previous owner, a Los Angeles partnership called Kital-Pico, secured City Council approval in 2001 for a $90-million project, to be named Pico Plaza, over the objections of neighbors who were concerned about the center's design and potential traffic problems.

The council approved what would have been one of the first malls in the country to stack a big-box retailer on top of another.

Costco and Home Depot agreed to share the upstairs-downstairs arrangement in a 300,000-square-foot building. The project was to include an MTA bus terminal, a restaurant, a self-storage facility and a 1,478-car parking structure.

The two large retailers still want to be in the project, said Shaul Kuba, a principal of CIM Group.

"We'd prefer to maintain relationships with Home Depot and Costco, but we're also getting tremendous interest from other big-box retailers such as Lowe's," Kuba said.

The new owner plans to break ground in 60 to 90 days on the approved project, Kuba said.

CIM, which specializes in large-scale urban projects, is building a residential and retail complex in downtown Los Angeles. It also played a role in developing the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Old Pasadena and Brea Town Center.

Kuba declined to say how much CIM paid for the Pico Plaza site, but acknowledged that the sellers were asking for $25 million.

The president of Kital-Pico, Alon Rozov, confirmed the sale. He would not explain why the project has not been built.

He called CIM "the best possible developer for this site."

CIM Group is a co-investor in the project with CalPERS and CalSTRS, said John Given, a senior vice president at CIM. He did not disclose how much each entity is investing in the project. The California public employees' pension funds have earmarked money for investment in urban areas.

The development is considered a public-private venture and will include a $4.3-million tax subsidy from the city, Given said.

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