Los Angeles Business Journal

Chinese Developer Buys Robinsons-May Site

By Howard Fine Friday, August 8, 2014

China’s largest commercial developer has purchased the former Robinsons-May site in Beverly Hills, one of the most prominent retail locations in the Los Angeles area.

Beijing’s Wanda Group announced Friday that it bought the high-profile site at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard for an undisclosed sum from a joint venture led by Hong Kong private equity firm Joint Treasure International.

The Wanda Group said in a statement it beat 10 other bidders from Asia and North America in competition for the property. The group plans to spend $1.2 billion developing a mixed-use project on the parcel, which is near the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards.

Wanda Group said the project will serve as its first major step into Hollywood and that it would set up a Los Angeles office to handle future entertainment sector investments. Two years ago, Wanda bought the AMC theater chain for $2.6 billion.

Demolition has begun on the former Robinsons-May site, which has gone through a succession of owners in the nine years since the department store closed, including the British Candy brothers, who paid $500 million for the site in 2007. After their financial partner Kaupthing filed for bankruptcy protection, Candy & Candy defaulted on a $365 million bank loan and the property was put up for auction by creditor Banco Inbursa, run by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. In 2011 Joint Treasure International purchased the property from Banco Inbursa for $149 million.

In 2008, the city of Beverly Hills approved plans for the site calling for two towers of 14-16 stories with 235 luxury condos and 16,400 square feet of ground floor retail and restaurants.