Sears Site in Neglected Area of L.A. Primed for New Retail Project

A 22-acre property in Boyle Heights, a virtually ignored neighborhood in East Los Angeles, has been slated to become home to a new retail project. Manarino Realty, heading up a team involving boxer Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Partners real estate company, has signed a deal with MJW Investments to acquire and redevelop the Sears Roebuck & Co. property. With an agreement in place, the Manarino team will pursue a master plan to accommodate the needs of the underserved community, which sits just five minutes east of Downtown, where billions of dollars are being poured into a bevy of new upscale commercial and residential developments. “The whole resurgence in greater Downtown is essentially kick-starting a lot of projects in the surrounding areas,” a Golden Boy spokesperson told CPN today. While specifics of the Manarino and Golden Boy project have not yet been outlined, the project will be designed to lure leading retailers while complementing the neighborhood’s historic architecture. The Sears property, developed in 1927 as a 1.8 million-square-foot warehouse that would later encompass a 200,000-square-foot department store, is still open for business to shoppers. The fact that the store remains operational poses an obstacle for the commencement of the project; issues arising from Sears’ company reorganization have stalled progress on a requisite contract between the Manarino partnership and the retailer. Other hurdles facing the team include the need for infrastructural improvements, as well as environmental concerns. “This is 22 acres in what is essentially a Downtown market,” the spokesperson said. “It’s an exceptional opportunity if they can overcome the challenges.” Based in Irvine, Calif., Manarino Realty was established in 2006 by leading retail developer Robert Manarino for the purpose of developing and renovating retail centers along the West Coast. Los Angeles-headquartered MJW is a full service real estate company that focuses on acquisition, development, adaptive reuse, asset management and property management activities. Three-year-old Golden Boy Partners, located in El Segundo, Calif., is a partnership between Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Enterprises and financial investment company Highridge Partners CEO John Long. The company focuses on the development of residential, retail and commercial projects, as well as pubic spaces.