Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm CIM Group has agreed to purchase the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall, the company announced this week.

The 40-acre, 869,000-square-foot complex, located at the intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards, opened in the late 1940s.  Two of the mall's anchor tenants - Walmart and Sears - had already shuttered prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.  CIM Group intends to convert the roughly 300,000 square feet of retail space they left behind into offices.

The seller of the property, Capri Capital Partners, is just two years removed from obtaining approvals for a new development which would have added new retail space, a hotel, and hundreds of apartments to the property.  Despite those entitlements, CIM Group does not intend to add housing to the complex.

“Since 1947 this property has been a commercial property, and although current entitlements allow residential components, we believe that residential uses are not suitable for this property and it should remain a commercial property in our repositioning," said CIM Group co-founder Shaul Kuba in a news release.

CIM Group will pay more than $100 million for the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, reports the Los Angeles Times.  Capri Capital Partners acquired the mall in 2006 for $136 million, and subsequently invested $35 million in upgrades to complex.

The approved Capri Capital project has been opposed by the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, which has filed a Superior Court lawsuit in order to block its construction.  In a statement released yesterday, the organization expressed disquiet over minority-owned businesses displaced by CIM Group developments in the West Adams neighborhood, but declined to take a formal position on the company's plans for Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza until more details become available.

While housing may be off the table at the mall property, other sites nearby are slated for smaller mixed-use and multifamily residential developments.  At the nearby intersection of Crenshaw and Stocker Street, more than 200 apartments are planned to replace a series of commercial buildings and a car wash.  A 111-unit modular apartment complex already opened adjacent to Leimert Park in 2019.

Capri Capital Partners is also likely to remain active in the Baldwin Hills neighborhood - the company is partnering on the development on a bioscience campus just west of the shopping mall.

The projects will be joined in the coming years by a new light rail subway station now under construction at the intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King, which is one part of Metro's $2-billion Crenshaw/LAX Line.

For background on Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, read this piece from Streetsblog.