After two aborted attempts in the face of community opposition, the sale of the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza Mall appears to be complete.
Harridge Development Group, the Los Angeles-based real estate firm which purchased the mid-century shopping center at Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards, released a statement saying that no immediate changes are slated for the property, and that the mall would remain in operation during the course of any future construction.
"We have a long history of successful real estate development in the City of Los Angeles, and look forward to working alongside community-based groups, neighborhood associations, civil rights organizations, merchants, neighboring property owners, businesses and local government leaders to implement a successful reinvigoration of the Property with the mall remaining as its center," said Harridge chief executive officer David Schwartzman.
Harridge, in a news release, also stated its intentions to move forward with a redevelopment plan approved for the 43-acre property in 2018. That project called for retaining the offerings of the existing mall, while also adding:
- an eight-story, 400-room hotel;
- a 10-story, 148,000-square-foot office building;
- up to 551 condominiums and 410 apartments;
- 330,000 square feet of new shops and restaurants; and
- parking for 6,829 vehicles.
Community events such the mall's Farmer's Market and holiday activities are also expected to continue.
DWS, which was tasked with administering the sale, issued a statement saying that “We are excited to bring this process to a successful close for the benefit of the community. Harridge was selected through a fair and open sales process based upon a number of factors including both purchase price as well as development expertise."
The brokerage firm's comments addresses criticism of the selection of Harridge's bid over a competing offer from Downtown Crenshaw Rising, an organization composed of residents of the surrounding Baldwin Hills community.
Downtown Crenshaw released a statement Wednesday alleging that Schwartzman's group had received preferential treatment during the bidding process, and argued that the transaction is rooted in systemic racism.
"From the beginning, multiple white-led institutions and the system that supports them have viewed our community’s 40-acre mall as an opportunity for white outsiders to profit from the centuries-long exploitation of Black people and systemic displacement of Black businesses and residents," reads the statement. "Downtown Crenshaw is a transformative project that seeks to reverse this trend, by putting the Black community in control of its land and destiny. For these white-led institutions, the concept of Black community control of Black community space is antithetical to their practices, which are rooted in America’s genocide of the Indigenous people, land theft, enslavement of Africans and bombing of Black Wall Streets."
The organization vowed to pursue legal options to block the sale to Harridge, which it described as being "far from final."
Nontheless, Harridge is moving forward with the entitled plans for the site. The Los Angeles Times reports that the company expects to invest around $1 billion in the property over a period of up to seven years. The first component of the project slated to break ground is housing, with work set to begin in roughly a year-and-a-half. Later phases could involve repurpose empty spaces within the mall, which has recently lost anchor tenants Sears and Walmart.
The project site, located next to a new station on the Crenshaw/LAX Line, anchors a part of the Baldwin Hills community which could also see the construction of a new bioscience research campus, as well as a handful of proposed mixed-use and multifamily residential developments.
Harridge, in addition to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza site, is also behind plans for a high-rise housing and hotel complex near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue in Hollywood.
- Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza (Urbanize LA)