The Los Angeles Business Journal reported Friday afternoon that Malibu-based real estate investment firm Christina Development Corp. has purchased the Lipson building at 124-148 N. Larchmont Blvd. for $23.5 million, or roughly $1,372 per square foot. The Lipson building, a two-story, 17,000-square-foot storefront retail and office building, is one of the largest buildings on the street with over a dozen local retailers including the Larchmont Barber Shop, Landis Labyrinth Toys, Landis Gifts and Stationery and Chevalier’s Books. Local real estate experts told the Buzz the price per square foot in this highly consequential sale is quite high for a retail shopping street and comparable to rates found on the Westside and the city of Santa Monica.
“The new owner is really a perfect fit for this property,” Joshua Levy, managing partner at Pasadena-based brokerage Arbor Realty Capital Advisors, which represented the buyer, Christina Development, in the deal, said in a statement to the Business Journal. “He is truly a steward of real estate and has strong family ties to the (nearby) Hancock Park neighborhood.”
However, Levy told the Buzz he did not have details on the family connection and Eric Nelson, executor of the Charlotte Lipson Trust of Studio City, which owned the building, declined to comment on the transaction. A spokesperson for Christina Development could only say the company is the owner of the building and not a person. Unfortunately, none of the principals of the firm were available to provide further information on the suggested neighborhood connection. Stay tuned for updates as we get more information on that and future plans for the building.
The fate of the building has been of great interest to residents and businesses on Larchmont since the passing of the building’s owner, Charlotte Lipson last summer. The building at 124 1/2 – 148 N. Larchmont, was built by Charlotte Lipson’s father, Julius La Bonte, the original developer of Larchmont Blvd. La Bonte’s company financed much of the commercial development on Larchmont by selling mortgages to his contacts in his native Michigan.
The company’s original safe is still inside what is now Chevalier’s Books. The marble facade is still intact, too…though other elements of the building have been altered. The distinctive green awning was added to the facade in the 1980s, when Lipson made substantial improvements to bring the original building up to current building code standards.