So based on the public discussions from the City Council around these innovative developers that are going to “wow” us all with their exciting and innovative plans for Alameda Point that can’t be discussed publicly lest someone steal their idea (or something like that) I’m getting the sinking feeling that at least one of the two developers — Charles Co. — might be here to stay since they’ve had not one, but two closed session agenda items to talk “price and terms”.
Finding information about Charles Company has proved to be rather difficult.
Here are a pair of older articles about a strip mall Charles Co. owned in Las Vegas . In this case the owner was technically Tropec LLC which is owned by the owners of Charles Co.: Arman and Mark Gabay. The first article details how the strip mall was left to languish without leases renewed:
The owners of the Tropicana Center strip mall have either $61 million to burn or a secret plan.
The mystery businessmen bought the shopping center for many millions nearly three years ago and since then have all but encouraged businesses to leave.
Leases generally aren’t being renewed, the trees in the parking lot have been cut down and most nights the lights in the parking lot don’t work.
The deed says Tropec LLC. But if you look at an SEC filing from when it took out a $56 million loan to buy the shopping center in 2005, two names appear, Arman and Mark Gabay. The Beverly Hills, Calif., businessmen have a combined net worth of $432.5 million and hold 54 properties, the loan prospectus notes.
On this particular property, 30 out of 48 storefronts are empty. And it can’t be just the economy. Other stores along the street seem to be doing just fine.
In 2009 the bank foreclosed on this particular property:
Lenders are foreclosing on the Tropicana Center and the adjacent Pecos Plaza and are seeking appointment of a receiver to run the strip mall until the property is sold at auction.
Wells Fargo Bank, trustee for investors in the property’s $56 million mortgage loan issued in June 2005, said in a lawsuit this week that shopping center owner Tropec LLC of Los Angeles stopped making payments on the mortgage in March.
Also in 2008 the Gabays played hardball on a site in La Puente:
Charles Co. owner Arman Gabay said Wednesday he had previously offered the city $23 a square foot, but that was under the impression that the project would include Triangle Square.
Now, Gabay is pegging the project without that site – since it has not yet been acquired – meaning the retail center will likely only include two big box stores and a parking lot, he said.
Mayor Louie Lujan said Gabay ‘s $23 offer was made long ago, and the council knew going into the 45-day stay that Gabay had dropped his offer to $13 a square foot.
Which they eventually developed into a shopping mall (let me tell you the rabbit hole I went down trying to find out what happened to this property), using redevelopment funds:
The project has been in the works since 2005 when the La Puente Redevelopment Agency bought the lot for $12.5 million.
The process has dragged on for years as officials solicited competitive proposals from developers and negotiated and changed agreements.
The city’s redevelopment agency, in partnership with Jasmine Real Estate Investments, a subsidiary of the Hollywood-based Charles Co., is now building the development after the agency sold it for $4.2 million.
Although this letter on this blog is pretty funny from 2008 where the Charles Co. sent a letter about the La Puente site to a different City because they had sooo many developments happening they could keep track of which city they need an extension in!
Another stalled development from 2009 in the City of Hawthorne, the Charles Company owner claimed that the stall was due to the City Council not his fault. Interestingly enough he offered to bring a Wal-mart to that property too.
Charles Co also built a Wal Mart in the town of Altadena and have proposed another big box retailer in the same town at a different site which folks have assumed with be yet another Wal-Mart.
And finally, this is the most um, “innovative” project I could find, which is slated to open tomorrow the Gran Plaza outlets in Calexico. This has been in the works since 2002. You can take a look at the marketing brochure to retailers here.
Essentially from some very cursory internet searches what I get from Charles Co. is: stalled developments, strip malls, Walmart, and outlet malls. Yay?