The property at 2540 Rosemead Boulevard, which was acquired for $24 million, was once the site of the Starlite Drive-In theater, which ceased operations approximately 30 years ago. At that point, the land was acquired by the Taiwanese-based Starlite Swap Meet Group, which began operating the weekend-only outdoor marketplace of the same name up until 2020, when the global pandemic forced closure. The property was put up for sale shortly afterward.
Entitlements for the property had already been processed prior to the sale, with KB Home securing approvals to build roughly 200 homes in a mix of three-story detached and attached structures. Plans call for a mix of two-, three-, and four-bedroom dwellings, as well as recreation spaces like a pool and a community building.
While the swap meet and the drive-in have been lost to time, one element of the property's history will remain for the future: the theatre's 72-year-old marquee, which will be restored.
DAUM's Lara Team consisting of Nick Peukpiboon and Rudy Lara, represented both buyer and seller.
“The process to change the entitlement from commercial to residential, though long, was the ultimate catalyst that enabled this transaction to come to fruition," said Peukpiboon in a news release. "El Monte city leadership recognized the need and saw the value of changing the zoning in order to bring in additional family housing to the San Gabriel Valley."
For a look back at the Starlite's most recent incarnation as a swap meet, see this 2014 piece published by KCET.
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