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Storied Hollywood Boulevard building sold

CIM Group sells the building at 6904 Hollywood Blvd. to ASB Real Estate Investments of Maryland. The property has had a long, up-and-down life.

June 20, 2013|By Roger Vincent
  • The building at 6904 Hollywood Blvd. was once home to the popular Seven Seas nightclub, now housing retail and office space.
The building at 6904 Hollywood Blvd. was once home to the popular Seven Seas… (Greg Epstein, Hanley Investment…)

A once-notorious building on Hollywood Boulevard next door to where ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" television show is broadcast has been sold to a Maryland real estate investment firm.

The three-story retail and office property, built in 1921 and across the street from the historic TCL Chinese Theatre, has had a rise, fall and comeback fitting for a Hollywood tale.

Once known as the Seven Seas building for the nightclub it housed, 6904 Hollywood Blvd. enjoyed popularity in the mid-20th century but fell far and hard in the 1980s and 1990s when scores of businesses departed Hollywood and the neighborhood earned a reputation for being disreputable and even dangerous.

A renaissance began on nearby blocks more than a decade ago, and during the mid-2000s the decrepit and largely unoccupied Seven Seas building stood out like a broken tooth, in stark contrast to its heyday.

As far back as the 1930s, the building was the home of Seven Seas, a popular island-themed nightclub that once boasted live floor shows with music and dancers three times a night.

"It was a great hangout during [World War II] for soldiers and sailors on leave from the Pacific, or on the verge of going out," the late Times columnist Jack Smith once wrote. "There was a tin canopy over the bar, and every few minutes an artificial rainstorm would come, drumming on the tin like the rain on the roof of the Pago Pago rooming house in Somerset Maugham's 'Rain.'"

Hollywood developer and landlord CIM Group bought the property in 2007 from the infamous impresario Eddie Nash, who had owned it for almost 50 years. Nash once operated more than 20 bars and restaurants, including the Starwood, Odyssey, Ali Baba's and Kit Kat Club. In 2001 he pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges and was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

CIM paid $9.2 million for the former Seven Seas and vowed to spend as much as $10 million more on improvements.

"CIM is proud to have completed the transformation of this landmark property that contributes to the retail and office market in Hollywood," said Shaul Kuba, a founding principal owner of the company.

The price of CIM's sale to ASB Real Estate Investments of Bethesda, in partnership with Los Angeles real estate firm Blatteis & Schnur Inc., was not disclosed. The property's assessed value was more than $20 million last year, and real estate experts familiar with Hollywood estimated the price at about $35 million.

The retail space is occupied by Hollywood Megastore and Spanish fashion retailer Zara. The offices are leased to Allied Integrated Marketing and cosmetics brand Napoleon Perdis. A prominent rooftop billboard is leased to Walt Disney Co.

The neighborhood is zoned for additional dense residential development and already is home to many entertainment firms in addition to being a tourist attraction, said broker Carlos J. Lopez of Hanley Investment Group Real Estate Advisors, who helped arrange the deal.

"Hollywood is one of the hottest real estate markets in Southern California," Lopez said, "with all of the attributes to sustain it well into the future."

roger.vincent@latimes.com

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